Ridiculous Study of the Week II: Medicine as a Calling

A Mayo Clinic Proceedings study concluded that “physicians who experience more burnout are less likely to identify with medicine as a calling. Erosion of the sense that medicine is a calling may have adverse consequences for physicians as well as those for whom they care.”

Does anyone else see this conclusion as astoundingly obvious?  If the system beats the crap out of you and burns you out then you lose that sense of purpose (calling).  No shit. This had to be studied?  And then they take a bigger risk in saying that this burnout has adverse consequences?  No shit.

Am I missing something here?


  6 comments for “Ridiculous Study of the Week II: Medicine as a Calling

  1. Sir Hakum of Hugo
    March 14, 2017 at 8:47 am

    I unearthed a study in the Imperial Journal of Medicine from Japan in 1945. The study showed that Kamikaze pilots had a higher morale and higher levels of dedication than the regular pilots who planned to return home after finishing their day job.

    To paraphrase, even with loads of Mustard and Mayo, a stink sandwich is still a stink sandwich.

  2. Pat
    March 13, 2017 at 9:31 am

    On its surface, this is ludicrous. What I regard as more sinister is an underlying assumption by the researchers, those funding them, and those who would use these results: the assumption that medicine ought to be a “calling,” by definition practiced by those who are willfully, even enthusiastically sacrificing themselves. Every major pressure on modern physicians suggests to them and to the public at large that their specific purpose is to sacrifice themselves for some arbitrary greater good. The schizophrenia of it all is how the value of doctors is constantly extolled, and those same doctors are progressively more abused by the patients, hospitals, insurance companies, and government that declare their value.

    Modern medicine is: patients constantly arguing with, and distrustful of physicians; insurance companies forever seeking to cheat physicians; hospitals exploiting physicians; quasi-governmental bodies (MOC) extorting physicians; predatory lawyers stalking physicians; government threatening physicians. Modern medicine is about conflict, not comfort. Trying to suggest that it is a calling is a subtle, despicable way for those who want to control physicians to cover over the true state of affairs.

    • Stephen O'
      March 13, 2017 at 10:24 am

      Doormats and the terminally insecure make for more obedient employees. Don’t code in front of them.

  3. HJR
    March 13, 2017 at 8:26 am

    It always amazes me that there is an entire industry full of MPH’s continuously churning out this absolute nonsense. Only government money could be so stupid.

  4. Thomas Guastavino
    March 13, 2017 at 6:55 am

    Being a physician is like someone who loves strawberries but at the same time are deathly allergic to them. While you are eating them you may love the taste but you pay for it later.

    • Sir Hakum of Hugo
      March 14, 2017 at 11:16 am

      While I’m thinking of it, Dr. G., you are quite the rhetorical warrior on KevinMD.
      Awesome work my friend.

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