Re-Imagining the Doctor

Physicians are anxious about the future of their profession. High medical-school debt has something to do with this crisis, as do the uncertainties brought on by Obamacare. But most of all, the doctor crisis is the result of a lack of recognition by a culture that no longer seems to know what doctors should do. Given that we face the possibility of a large doctor shortage, it is imperative that the doctor adopt a new role commensurate with the demands of the 21st century. The way to re-inspire doctors is to conceive of them as leaders. Nurses and robots will pick up many of the technical duties, but they can never direct a plan of treatment with the right mix of charisma, authority, and decisiveness. Just as medical schools adjusted to the new wave of laboratory science after the Flexner Report a hundred years ago, schools must again adjust to changing realities.

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