Applying the 5 pillars of success to medicine

Readers know that I went to the University of Virginia as an undergraduate. Since graduating in 1971 I have remained a huge sports fan and academic fan of the university. Those who follow my Twitter account have seen me tweet often about the basketball team.

Our coach, Tony Bennett, took his 5 pillars of success from his father, the famous coach Dick Bennett. While these pillars have a Christian origin, I believe that are really not denominational, but rather universal concepts.

The first principle is humility. While this seems like a simple concept, it is actually quite complex. Humility is more than modesty, rather it implies assessing yourself accurately. Accepting your strengths and weaknesses and admitting them. One of my earliest mentors, Orhan Muren, often told us, in medicine never be “cocky.” I interpret Dr. Muren and Tony Bennett as reminding us to not become impressed with our own wisdom or brilliance, but to always question our course and ask for help when we need that help.

The second is passion. Medicine can provide the most wonderful career when we really love it. We should embrace all that medicine has to offer, for our patients and for ourselves.

Our third is unity. This concept relates to medical education strongly. Medicine is a “team sport.” Each team member should strive to help all other team members grow. We can, and should work together for our patients’ benefit.

The fourth is servanthood. In medicine we have a primary responsibility to our patients. As educators we should serve our learners. When they grow that we can have great pride in their growth.

The last one is thankfulness. We physicians should take time to acknowledge the gifts we have received. We must remember all those who help us help our patients. I personally feel so fortunate to have found this wonderful profession. We should remember this every day.

If we do the right things for the right reasons, everyone benefits. I remain thankful that each day my goal is to help. And in the journey of helping others we receive the greatest rewards.

Robert Centor is an internal medicine physician who blogs at DB’s Medical Rants.

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  • buzzkillerjsmith

    Don’t get me going on that scumbag traitor Bennett who left wonderful WSU for some absurd state east of the Rockies that I can’t even be bothered to learn the name of. I curse his soul.

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