Every morning in Tibetan Delek Hospital in Dharamshala, India, Tsetan Dorji Sadutshang (far right), a consultant in general medicine and a personal physician to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, leads a ward round that starts uniquely with protected time for shared prayer and meditation in silence focused on compassion. Another feature of this ward round is the presence of a traditional Tibetan medicine physician, a nun (left, in red robes) who is a member of the teaching faculty from a traditional medicine school.

This method of starting a ward round can be healthy and holistic for the medical team itself. In many settings worldwide, high workloads and understaffing are affecting the wellbeing and happiness of the health workforce. We must include and prioritise time and space for reflection and self-care. Perhaps some lessons can be learned from Tibetan and Buddhist approaches.

As many Tibetans flee their home and now are born outside Tibet, His Holiness the Dalai Lama reminds us, with his portrait smiling on the wall above, “Happiness is the highest form of health”.

Published in
www.thelancet.com Vol 402 December 23/30, 2023