Welcome to The Position Paper! The Position Paper is my series featuring my quick take on a particular topic to help you manage your position. I will often feature one outside article as well that will allow you to dig in deeper if you desire. Read this while you drink your coffee in the morning and start your day off right!
Today’s Position: Professional Position
Featured Article: None
No featured article today, as I thought I’d give my brief thoughts about physician accountability. As many of you know, I am a physician that supervises other physicians. As such, I am the guardian of our organization’s mission and values within our clinic.
I take this job very seriously, as I view this as just another way to ensure that our patients receive first class medical care. My role sometimes requires me to have tough, direct conversations with colleagues, and I don’t shy away from it.
I have marveled, however, that some others in similar positions refuse to speak up when noticing their employees delivering substandard work or behaving in an an unacceptable way. Often, they will tell me something along the lines of “I’m not going to tell another doctor how to practice medicine” or “They are responsible for their own actions.”
On the surface, I agree with these sentiments. I don’t go to work every day and tell my physicians how to practice medicine, and they most certainly are responsible for their actions on a daily basis, just like anyone else. However, professional courtesy requires that you act like a professional.
I am not going to sit by and watch one of my physicians treat a patient with disrespect. I’m also not going to watch any of them give out narcotics to every patient with back pain that walks in the door. There are standards of behavior and quality that we all must adhere to. Enforcing these standards does not diminish our profession; it enhances it.
As I tell my employees, we can either police ourselves or someone else will come and do it for us. As a physician, myself, I think I am the best positioned to fairly and accurately judge my staff’s performance and behavior. As long as I hold everyone accountable to a standard of excellence, then no one else will bother us.
If I fail to hold others accountable, then other people will likely start to bother us. I think we all can agree that medicine needs less outside people shaping our direction, not more. Accountability is the only way to ensure physicians remain the leaders of the healthcare system; we should embrace it.
Have a great day!
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