Goals for Culture Improvement

Many people have a different idea of what an “improvement” in medical culture would be. For generations, doctors have had to endure extreme conditions. Some have the mentality that “I had to go through this to become a doctor, so future generations should have to as well.” When they hear there is a movement to improve medical culture, they may fear that criteria for becoming a doctor will be lowered and doctors will no longer be “tough.” To explain that this is not the case, I have created the visual below.

The Culture Feared by Some extends toward the “everyone gets a trophy” range on the left. Some current doctors fear that with a change in culture, all that will be required is good grades. They fear that no doctor will have thick skin. Improved Medical Culture does not extend to the left. It does not suggest a lowering of standards. In an Improved Medical Culture, simply having good grades isn’t enough to cut it. The doctor must also be extremely hard working and willing to make personal sacrifices. What Improved Medical Culture does suggest is an elimination of expectations on the extreme right end. The Current Medical Culture at many institutions expects the doctor to be immune to emotion, tolerate harassment, and, unfortunately, hundreds of doctors are driven to suicide by this culture every year. Doctors in an Improved Medical Culture have thick skin but draw the line at bullying or being bullied. In an Improved Medical Culture, no doctor should risk their health or be driven to suicide.