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The Art and the Calling
September 2003

Excellence in Oncologic Care: Passion, Priority, and Performance

Arch Dermatol. 2003;139(9):1130-1132. doi:10.1001/archderm.139.9.1130

One of the essential qualities of the clinician is interest in humanity, for the secret of the care of the patient is in caring for the patient.— Frances Weld Peabody

Clinicians in academic medicine appreciate the paramount importance of science. Academic institutions achieve national ranking primarily based on grant funding and science. The true power of discovery is translation of science to better medical care and enhancement of society as a whole. That said, the fundamental patient–health care provider relationship was, is, and will remain the heart and soul of the American health care system. This relationship must prevail to fully realize scientific discovery. Those who push the frontiers of science are noble. Those who work tirelessly in service to their patients, who go the extra mile, are special. Bringing the "noble" and "special" together makes for an unbeatable team. In broad terms, optimal patient care requires excellence in 3 key areas: (1) personal qualities, (2) awareness of patient needs and desires, and (3) a well-functioning clinical delivery system.