In the middle of the last century, the profession of medicine consolidated its identity firmly around an ideal: physicians were expected to be dedicated to the welfare of their patients above all other considerations, committed to the public good, and impervious to financial temptation or other self-interest. The insular training and long work hours that set the profession apart from most peoples' experience further cemented this special identity. The past should not be unduly romanticized. Yet the professional ideal held a commanding presence, even when honored in the breach. Physicians enjoyed tremendous respect and trust from the public, and were granted near-complete autonomy and discretion in their work. By and large, they were delighted with their profession. Certainly, some physicians still feel the aura of a deep professional contentment that was more common in earlier, more idealistic times.
Goitein L, O’Malley PG, Redberg RF. Physician Work Environment and Well-being: A Call for Papers. JAMA Intern Med. 2017;177(2):164–165. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2016.7688
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