This PD note is dedicated to two courageous residents who raised concerns about mistreatment.
I love our residency community. We’re nearly always compassionate, we’re nearly always respectful, and we’re nearly always kind. We nearly always care for one another, and those of us in positions of power nearly always use that power responsibly. But nearly always isn’t always, and always is our goal.
The details of the residents’ concerns are confidential, and the details don’t matter for this message. Suffice it to say they demanded introspection and an effective response. If anyone in our program is hurt, we all are.
Even in a community committed to openness, there are obstacles to raising concern. There’s an understandable wish to avoid vulnerability, real or imagined, and to avoid igniting a chain reaction that may prove time consuming and emotionally depleting. When you speak up, you want to know you will be heard and that change will happen. Speaking up takes courage, and I’m grateful to those who do. Program, Department, and GME leadership are committed to listening and to keeping your concerns confidential.
We want to create a community where everyone can thrive, but our work will remain unfinished until we commit ourselves to treating everyone appropriately, without exception. Let’s acknowledge that many members of our community are vulnerable because of their gender, ethnicity, race, national origin, citizenship, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, and position in the medical hierarchy. For everyone to thrive, we must commit ourselves to these standards of behavior:
- To speak and behave respectfully at all times
- To cherish diversity.
- To assume the best of one another, knowing that everyone is working hard, often under trying circumstances
- To recognize the vulnerability of junior colleagues who depend on us for support
- To welcome feedback, including feedback that exposes our blind spots
- To commit to personal growth
- To listen openly when concerns are raised
- To foster the success and well-being of every member of our community
I’ve been a doctor for more than thirty years and subject to mistreatment myself. As I’ve risen through the hierarchy, I’ve become increasingly mindful of power and the importance of setting a good example.
I’ve never been part of a community more committed to caring for one another than ours is. We see it every day in countless acts of kindness. When we acknowledge our imperfections, we create space to grow. So let’s look in the mirror. Let’s recognize when we fail. Let’s strive for high ideals. When we commit ourselves to growing, we will move closer to becoming the community we are meant to be, one that is always compassionate, respectful, and kind.
Thank you, everyone, and feel free to share your thoughts.
Have a wonderful Sunday, and enjoy the sunshine if you can get outside.