The Finest Traditions of My Calling: One Physician's Search for the Renewal of Medicine

The Finest Traditions of My Calling: One Physician's Search for the Renewal of Medicine

by Abraham M. Nussbaum

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Patients and doctors alike are keenly aware that the medical world is in the midst of great change. We live in an era of continuous healthcare reforms, many of which focus on high volume, efficiency, and cost-effectiveness. This compelling, thoughtful book is the response of a practicing psychiatrist who explains how population-based reforms have diminished the relationship between doctors and patients, to the detriment of both. As an antidote to failed reforms and an alternative to stubbornly held traditions, Dr. Abraham M. Nussbaum suggests ways that doctors and patients can learn what it means to be ill and to seek medical assistance.
Using a variety of riveting stories from his own and others’ experiences, the author develops a series of metaphors to explore a doctor’s role in different healthcare reform scenarios: scientist, technician, author, gardener, teacher, servant, and witness. Each role influences what a physician sees when examining a person as a patient. Dr. Nussbaum cautions that true healthcare reform can happen only when those who practice medicine can see, and be seen by, their patients as fellow creatures. His memoir makes a hopeful appeal for change, and his insights reveal the direction that change must take.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780300220919
Publisher: Yale University Press
Publication date: 03/22/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 320
File size: 433 KB

About the Author

Abraham M. Nussbaum, M.D., directs the adult inpatient psychiatry unit at Denver Health, where he also trains medical students and residents. He is assistant professor, Department of Psychiatry, University of Colorado School of Medicine, and author of the best-selling The Pocket Guide to the DSM-5 Diagnostic Exam. He lives in Denver, CO.

Table of Contents

Preface xi

Acknowledgments xiii

Introduction: Parts and Money 1

1 Seeing Wisely 10

2 Occult Findings 26

3 The Book and the Coat 38

4 Full Responsibility 52

5 Duty Hours 67

6 Efficient and Effective 84

7 Checklists and Dance Lessons 99

8 Famous Factory Meatloaf 114

9 Sickbeds and Garden Beds 131

10 Committed 146

11 Impatient Attending 162

12 Muscle Ups 176

13 Doctors Without Silver 191

14 Red Cards 207

15 Witnesses 223

16 Hope 239

Epilogue: Luster 258

Notes 269

Credits 285

Index 287


What do you hope readers will take away from the experience of reading The Finest Traditions of My Calling?
 I hope readers will learn that healthcare reform is not just a question of who should have access to care and who should pay for it, but also of our desire for a favorable outcome when a physician meets a person as a patient. Reformers believe the problem with medicine is that it does not consistently and safely deliver the best treatments. And the solution is to transform the delivery of medical care using processes pioneered in high-risk industries like aviation, mining, and automobile manufacturing: run hospitals like factories, optimized for efficiency and effectiveness. But factories make things, not people.
How might your book help change the practice of medicine?
I hope to shift the conversation from the reform of healthcare systems to the renewal of medical practice. We need to envision hospitals and clinics not as factories but as cultural spaces such as schools and gardens, restaurants, and gyms, all of which require human relationships for their operation.
What are examples of the roles physicians and patients assume when they interact?
Physicians are like scientists who want to know how the body works; technicians who control it; authors who tell its story; gardeners who carefully tend it; teachers who help patients achieve what they could not on their own; and servants who give of themselves for the sake of their patients.

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