Thinking outside the box #1.Posted June 21, 2012 by Emil Avanes, MD
Sometimes the world can be cruel to goodhearted physicians. Patients come to us for answers. Anything less seems inadequate. There is a sense that physicians must process all complaints, unite their fundamental physiological mechanisms, and provide treatment that eradicates all symptoms. It almost seems comical.
This is perfectly all right. We physicians also aspire to achieve success 100% of the time. We enjoy thinking about our patients’ problems; researching, debating, confirming, diagnosing. We rejoice when our treatments yield positive results and reduce patient suffering. We revel in catching the “zebras.”
Unfortunately, medicine is still a practice, and therefore imbued with imperfection. In the future, physicians need to avoid public displays of denigration toward their peers. Frequently, I hear physicians strike down their colleagues in discussions with their patients. “Why did he do that? Where did he train? Why didn’t he prescribe antibiotics? You should have called me!”
Let’s change gears and think outside the box. Cynical disparagement of other physicians is like a circular firing squad: it will eventually serve the sole purpose of bringing us all down. Rise up from the urge to blame or ridicule. Respect your fellow physician.
When was the last time you heard a nurse roll his eyes at his predecessor’s performance? Perhaps that is why nurses are the most highly respected professionals in the eyes of our patients.