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A Piece of My Mind
July 7, 1999

Master Class

Author Affiliations

Edited by Roxanne K. Young, Associate Editor.

JAMA. 1999;282(1):9-10. doi:10.1001/jama.282.1.9

I can only see doctors in the early morning on my hospital rounds. I am usually late for my office because I am reluctant to leave their reassuring society—I have gone badly astray before and know the dangers of believing my own voices. As a solo rural practitioner, with the final authority on absolutely everything in my little corner of the planet, I am at constant risk of evolving into a dogmatist, a petulant child, a monster who once had a first name different than "Doctor." Experience may be the best teacher, but it is also a boorish and overbearing companion. I listen to my colleagues' stories for the same reasons that I once attended to my teachers and that I still read the thoughts of strangers: to know that my world is but one small province of a great realm where humility is the condition of full citizenship.

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