Doctors are …
Start by entering those two words into the search line of your web browser and look at the list of the top ten searches. What words come to mind next? This is the list from my browser:
Doctors are stupid, arrogant, evil, dangerous, idiots, overpaid, useless, underpaid, rich, greedy.
This list is disappointing. Is this representative of public opinion of what doctors are? As one physician, I realize there is not much I can do to improve this perception. All I can do is do my best to take good care of patients, and learn from my mistakes.
I deal with many different doctors professionally every day through my primary care practice and as the Chief of Staff of a small community hospital, as well as on a more personal level as my patients and through physician meetings dealing with physician health concerns. The list I come up with is quite different.
Doctors are terrified, stuck, retiring, trying, not valued, struggling, worried, hopeful, angry, human.
Personally, I too have felt disillusioned as a physician in today’s healthcare climate. But when the Supreme Court ruled on the ACA, I made a decision that I am going to be a part of it. I want to move forward, adapt, and continue to be able to provide quality care for my community. In speaking with other doctors, I realized that I am not alone in my fears of the future, and that I have colleagues that also want to be the best physicians they can be. We can help each other do this.
I have heard that the Chinese symbol for crisis also represents opportunity. I encourage my colleagues to embrace the changes, network with your peers, learn about Accountable Care Organizations, Independent Physician Associations, and other models and take action now to have a voice in your future.
This is an exciting time. This is an opportunity.
Patrick W. Hisel is a family physician who can be reached at Patrick Hisel for Congress.