Medical Students Stuck in the Middle?

So I tweeted the humanism in medicine blog post above because I’m looking for a way out of the polarized, either/or thinking into which I sometimes get trapped. I’m hopeful that the next generation of doctors will get us out of this mess. I was reminded of my challenge to live in a world which is essentially ambiguous when I published the post about the “wingnut” doctor protesting the Maintenance of Certification (MOC)–a frequent topic on my mind.

WingnutMuch to my surprise, I found out that there’s another meaning for “wingnut” besides what I thought it meant, which was the state of feeling generally isolated in holding a particular opinion on an issue. I got a lesson in word usage when someone asked me if I’m a “moonbat.” When I googled  the word, I discovered this other meaning for “wingnut” as well. I realized I’d missed this political nuance about the dichotomy between the right-wing conservatives (wingnuts) and the left-wing liberals (moonbats).


I dodged the question, of course, by making a joke out of it. But I’m not joking when I say I hope the next generation of doctors will somehow unhinge the importance of the need for doctors to engage systematically in staying current with their medical knowledge and skills from the perception that everyone who tries to implement a model for how to get this job done is somehow always a short-sighted and evil government bureaucrat.

And another issue that dogs me is the notion that the neuroscience of psychiatry may be somehow incompatible with humanism. I think we can and must have both.

How about psychopharmacology versus psychotherapy, as though that were the best way to view psychiatric treatment delivery?

And I hope the next generation of doctors will negotiate a solution to the sometimes-dichotomized integrated care vs treatment-as-usual health care delivery model as it relates to access to psychiatric treatment. To be fair, progress will likely depend on the definition of integrated care, and Dr. Dawson has a compelling perspective on that.

I don’t envy medical students as they regard the polarized state of medicine these days. They have their work cut out for them. They probably feel like they’re stuck in the middle. Ironically, that may be the best position in which to pull opposites together.