Humility: The Best Characteristic in Medicine

SEPTEMBER 21, 2018
Krista Rossi
At the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) 2018 annual meeting held in Chicago, Illinois, Pauline Funchain MD, associate staff member in the Taussig Cancer Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, highlights how humility may be one of the best characteristics in medicine right now.


Interview Transcript (modified slightly for readability):

“I think medicine is so complex now, it’s not fair to expect your average primary physician, or even your average oncologist, to keep track of all the rare conditions. There may be very exciting developments that not everyone will know about because they’re rare mutational events and things like that.

I think it’s really important to be humble in medicine nowadays—to know the things you know, and [for] the things you don’t know, to make sure you’re reaching out to specialists.

It’s not about how much you or any particular person knows, it’s about getting whoever it is in front of you—a real, honest-to-goodness person who has things to do and things that they love—to make sure they keep doing those things. I would really say humility may be one of the best characteristics in medicine now.

As a super specialist, we have to also admit there are things that we can do and can’t do, and that’s why we have multidisciplinary teams so that we can defer surgical decisions to the surgeon—that kind of stuff.” 


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