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Physicians' sense of powerlessness and being a cog in a wheel

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Physicians' sense of powerlessness and being a cog in a wheel

"Toward the end of my clinical career, I didn’t feel like I had control over much at all. The patient safety issues loomed large. We used ridiculous workarounds for broken…
August 17, 2021

Physicians' sense of powerlessness and being a cog in a wheel

“Toward the end of my clinical career, I didn’t feel like I had control over much at all. The patient safety issues loomed large. We used ridiculous workarounds for broken processes. The constant vigilance to provide excellent care in a suboptimal environment was exhausting. I didn’t see anything I could change. Based on my work with physicians as a coach, I think that the sense of powerlessness and being a “cog in a wheel” is now at an all-time high.

While on an uninspiring stretch of road on a recent family trip, a realization came to me: There are many, many system issues over which physicians have little control. But physicians do have control over three things:

  • How they lead in both formal and informal leadership roles
  • How effectively they advocate for change
  • Who they show up as every day”

Diane W. Shannon is an internal medicine physician and physician coach and can be reached at her self-titled site, Diane W. Shannon.

She shares her story and discusses her KevinMD article, “The sense of powerlessness and being a cog in a wheel is now at an all-time high.” (https://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2021/06/the-sense-of-powerlessness-and-being-a-cog-in-a-wheel-is-now-at-an-all-time-high.html)

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