What Stressed Out Doctors Can Learn
from the
Wicked Witch

The next time you’re teetering on the edge of overwhelm, with too patients, too much paperwork and too little time, try heeding the warning from the Wicked Witch of the West.


True confession time: My favorite movie of all time is “The Wizard of Oz.” I have always loved it, even when I was a kid.

I remember how my folks, my siblings and I gathered around the TV in anticipation. My mom made homemade ice cream sundaes, complete with chocolate sauce and cherries on the top.

At my house, that kind of indulgence only happened once or twice a year.

It’s hard to say which I liked better: the movie or the ice cream sundae.

I still watch “The Wizard of Oz.” In fact, I’ve been known to recite every line by heart.

I have a copy of the video, the DVD, and the soundtrack on CD. I even have ruby-slipper jewelry that a very special nurse from my O.R. gave me many years ago (thanks, Patty!).

Why do I love “The Wizard of Oz” so much?

I guess it’s like “The Godfather” for so many men.

It’s a timeless story that teaches and entertains us, all at once.

I learned a lot from the Wizard of Oz over the years. But I think the most important lesson was the one the Wicked Witch of the West wrote in the clouds.

“Surrender Dorothy!”

She wrote this menacing message after Dorothy had finally made it to Oz, and believed she was on her way back to Kansas.

Her companions, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Cowardly Lion, were also on their way to getting what they believed was missing in their lives.

But, just before their first big meeting with The Great and Powerful Oz, the Wicked Witch sent Dorothy that fateful message across the sky via her broomstick.

What did she mean? Surrender?

Well, when I was a child watching with rapt attention, the meaning of the message didn’t register with me. At all. Maybe it was those scary flying monkeys? Who knows?

Only as I’ve become a bit older and wiser do I finally understand the meaning of what was written in the clouds.


Surrender doesn’t always mean to give in or give up; it can also mean to accept, to allow, to receive.

It can mean to stop pushing upstream and permit yourself to go with the flow.

Surrender to the world that surrounds you.

Surrender to your spouse’s silliness and your child’s boisterous behavior.

Surrender to your patients’ fears and your father’s concerns.

Surrender to your wrinkles when you smile and your need for reading glasses.

You don’t have to constantly push, strive and drive yourself to exhaustion.

Instead, surrender with grace.

And through your surrender, you may find your way home.

CATEGORIES: Blog on June 30, 2014 by Starla Fitch, M.D.

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3 thoughts on “What Stressed Out Doctors Can Learn
from the
Wicked Witch

    1. Starla Fitch, M.D. Post author

      Julieta, sometimes surrendering is what we do to get stronger. If we only lifted UP weights and never let them down, we wouldn’t build muscle. It’s in the movement where the magic happens. 🙂

  1. Pingback: When A Doctor Is In Trouble | End Physician Burnout Love Medicine Again

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