Views & Reviews Personal View

Physician, humble thyself

BMJ 2009; 339 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.b4218 (Published 14 October 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;339:b4218
  1. Erica Frank, professor, Department of Health Care and Epidemiology and Department of Family Practice, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  1. efrank{at}emory.edu

    Two examples of doctors’ sense of entitlement still bother me. The first was at an American Medical Association meeting, while I was riding in a cab with several colleagues to dinner after a long day of meetings. My colleagues were complaining, as they often did, about their working conditions and pay, feeling underappreciated and undercompensated, like many American doctors seem to. About 10 minutes into the drive I asked them, “How do you feel about complaining like this in front of a taxi driver?” The question produced an awkward silence. The cabbie was no longer invisible to them, and how he might hear my friends’ concerns, given his view of his own job, was uncomfortably obvious.

    The second example was with a then close friend of mine, a fellow physician at a large …

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