“Look at every path closely and deliberately, then ask ourselves this crucial question: Does this path have a heart? If it does, then the path is good. If it doesn't, it is of no use.” ~Carlos Castaneda

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Inflated sense of self

“The problem with people is that they're only human.”
~Bill Watterson

Over the years, I have learned from many people including my parents, friends, educators, and peers. I have developed my own habits, both good and bad. Something that I have always prided myself on is staying true to who I am. I am an inner city kid. I am blue collar. I work hard, and have a strong work ethic. But, I am human and therefore flawed. I am not afraid to admit when I am wrong, because all I am a human being with an advanced degree.

Since the as far back as you can go, the medical field has been held to a different standard. A standard we have probably placed on ourselves. Some of the idealistic and altruistic ideas that have been listed on many medical school applications fade the further we progress in out education. We become engrossed in our field. We become absorbed by the profession. We lose our sense of being human and become physicians. We become pumped up by the notion that as a physician we become some how all knowing. We all know the term "God Complex."

Physicians are narcissist. I am sure most nurses would agree. Okay, not all physicians are this way, but many show the traits. I ran across this on the Texas Medical Association site. It was titled Personality Traits and Disorders Common to Physicians. The common personality disorders seen in physicians are:
  • Narcissistic
  • Obsessive-Compulsive
  • Antisocial
It is interesting that these are the personality disorders that are most common. Now, We don't all have personality disorders, but the traits are definitely there.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Has grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, brilliance
  • Believes self to be “special”
  • Requires excessive admiration
  • Has a sense of entitlement
  • Is interpersonally exploitative
  • Lacks empathy
  • Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors
Wow, these are definitely traits of some people I know. Of course, I have none of these traits (rolling eyes). The surgical fields are kind of self selecting. Who wants a surgeon who is no confidant? These character traits are hard to prevent. In surgery, you affect people's lives. You make a difference. Some many say you play god, but you are not god.

How do you prevent yourself from being one of "those" surgeons? Some who have followed my posts may say, "Well from your radiology posts and that oddly titled 'not everyone will like you post' you obviously have issues." Fortunately, those are not true reflections of my nature. I am generally a well tempered and humble individual; it is from that voice I will speak. The easiest way to do it is remember you are human. There is nothing that is below you. You bleed the same as the maid, the scrub tech, and the CEO. We work with and treat people, not titles. The ultimate goal in medicine is for good patient care, not to make me look good.

For those who are just beginning on your journey, I challenge you to be a human being first. Remember you can not know and do everything; you may need the help of others. Being in medicine is by its nature altruistic; keep at bay the narcissistic tendencies. In the end, stay true to who you are.

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
~Oscar Wilde

1 comment:

Chrysalis said...

Absolutely wonderful advice!

I can remember talking with my Grandmother when I was younger, and she told me No one person is truly above another. We need every position filled in our society to function properly. She said if we were all doctors or lawyers what would happen to all of the garbage we produce on a daily basis? From there, she went on to paint a mental image in my mind I will not forget. I've always remembered it.

There but by the grace of God go I. There are many factors that go into the paths we end up on in our various lives. I like that you have the introspection you do, it's an asset to hold on to.