We talk a lot about the responsibility of doctors to respect a certain standard when it comes to their public presence. I’ve suggested that we’re accountable to our communities, colleagues and our patients. Extreme views and rogue behavior have a way of reflecting badly on those around us.
The question then becomes, what responsibility do institutions, colleagues and patients have to physicians with a voice? Is there any level of acceptance that must occur once we realize that doctors no longer represent the stereotype that we’ve been used to?
While physicians must see their role in a larger organization, the larger organization must recognize the role of the physician in public. This involves:
- Respecting a physician’s individual right to express, build, create, curate, converse and advocate. Doctor means ‘teacher.’
- Embracing the unique brilliance of every physician voice with the understanding that it can be matched with a community in which that voice resonates and thrives.
- Recognize the value of dialog as the new means by which information is delivered.
Ultimately this comes down to institutional acceptance of how the world is changing. Doctors are nothing like they were once portrayed and there’s no longer one way to see a physician.
That’s what everyone else needs to understand.