In a few weeks, new medical school graduates will take their turns saying the words of the Hippocratic Oath.
In theory: This is a noble tradition where they promise to fulfill their duties as wonderful physicians: Autonomous, wise, humble, prevention-focused, and active members of their communities.
In reality: The health care system in which they’re entering makes it next to impossible to keep any of these commitments. It is a cruel irony to have medical students pledge their commitment to preventive care as they enter a world dominated by tertiary medicine.
But here’s the thing: I don’t want to change the Hippocratic Oath. And I don’t want medical students to stop saying it.
I want to reclaim these words by overhauling health care so that it encourages physicians to keep their promises.
Jamie Katuna is a medical student. She can be reached on Facebook.