We’ve looked at person wellness and institutional wellness. Now let’s turn our attention to wellness within the culture of medicine. This is the third level of our physician wellness framework. Western medicine has its own set of customs, traditions and values that are learned early in the course of medical training. The value of sound scientific methods, the importance placed on logic and reason, and the significance of professional integrity are examples. Hard work, sacrifice and commitment are also included. Unhealthy values include harsh judgment, shame, a sense of superiority, and perfection.
When examining physician wellness at the cultural level, we must also address discrimination within medicine. Overt racism, misogyny, ageism and discrimination based upon sexual orientation are everyday occurrences and affect everyone within the culture of medicine. Think #metoo isn’t valid for medicine? Read “A Mother in the House” at this blog for another opinion. It’s difficult to experience wellness at the same time as discrimination.
At every level, physician wellness depends upon continuous, usually low-tech, activities and habits based upon individual and shared values. Identifying and shaping these shared values is not going to happen on its own. We all have an obligation to speak and act up. We need improved physician health. Our families, our communities, patients, and even the institution of medicine deserves better.