Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Medical Profession and "Physicianship"

After the events of September 11, 2001, the leaders at the United States Military Academy (USMA) at West Point studied and revised the training and currriculum for the Corps of Cadets.  Increased emphasis was placed on "officership", which expanded the concept of being an Army officer.  It is time for the medical profession to do a similar upgrade of professional development.

In discussing professional development of physicians, the term "physicianship" could be used to refer to the needed upgrade of the profession which faces considerable challenge in the current and coming eras. Physicianship means more than being a doctor and practicing medicine.  In this post I offer for discussion a short list of some roles and attributes that I believe are important for physicianship.  What do you think?

Physicianship is striving to be and becoming:

     A professional who is competent and technically proficient

     A member and citizen of  a respected profession

     A leader of character who inspires, motivates and communicates
     A servant of patients and society

     A warrior for humanity, safety and teamwork


  1. I can see these leading to a new breed of physicians. Good list.

  2. I like the list and can imagine a curriculum for most - the last one provides difficulty - I understand advocacy and think I could teach it, but not sure about the warrior though it just may imply a greater persistence!!!

  3. Dr. Jonas - I believe you are on track. My only suggestion is to add "A teacher of medical skills to co-workers (e.g., nurse practitioners, nurses, medical assistants, and technicians)" and to add "A role model for future members and citizens of the respected medical profession".

  4. Thanks for the comments. Thanks Steve, we do need a breed modification for this era and the future.
    Thanks Cheryl, A curriculum would help in making changes. The warrior is in reference to the warrior described in The Four Fold Way by Angeles Arrien. All people may have a warrior in them and all tribes historically did. It's someone who is willing to stand up for what they believe to be right while allowing other perspectives to be respectfully discussed. A passionate persistence, tempered by respect for others and self.
    Dean, I'm surprised that I left out a teacher role. I will add it. The citizenship in the profession will cover role modeling and being a participant in the activities of the profession. Thank you for the insights.