When I read the title of this editorial, the first thing that came to
mind was humanitarian, a person who by mind and actions is
devoted to the welfare of all human beings. Before a man or
woman can become a good doctor, he or she must first be a good
human being. They then become skilled practitioners through
training and clinical practice. I won’t attempt to define good, bad or
evil, as we all know what these words mean. But, to me a good
human being is someone who is gentle, kind, assertive,
compassionate, patient, calm, respectful of others, an advocate for
his or her fellow man, and one who is tolerant of others behaviors
and affects. Very few patients present themselves as they are
when functioning outside of the healthcare system and they look to
their healthcare providers to be their rock during times of illness.
Medicine today has gone well beyond “Do No Harm”. In a time of
diminished health care reimbursement, audits, peer review,
heightened malpractice, and so on, these humanitarian traits are
essential to the basic personality of a practitioner prior to dealing
with the bureaucracy of health care in this century.
As all of us know, medicine is not a career for someone who
wishes to become wealthy, (for the most part). Very few entered
the profession with that intention and as long as they remember
why they became physicians not only patients but the physicians
will benefit as well.
Martin P. Woodward, RN, BS, CCRN, RVS