Intended for healthcare professionals


Understanding the role of the doctor

BMJ 2008; 337 doi: (Published 18 December 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;337:a3035

The Doctor Patient

The most important role of the doctor is as a patient, because then, and only
then, can the doctor truly understand how frustrating and frightening it is to be
sick and seek help. This understanding enables the doctor to identify with
patients and relate to them in a more effective, compassionate, and humble
manner. And this, in turn, improves the doctor-patient relationship, patient
compliance, and treatment outcome. In short, having been on both sides of the
stethoscope, scalpel, and gurney, the doctor-patient is uniquely motivated to
practice and advance the art and science of healthcare.

Competing interests:
None declared

Competing interests: No competing interests

26 May 2009
Hugh Mann
Eagle Rock, MO 65641 USA