When it comes to the great physician types out there I feel that there are 2 good types, the paternal and the maternal type, The Rock and Mother Teresa.
Both are effective clinicians and healers. Their main goal is to ease suffering and cure any curable diseases. They use science as a backbone of their practice but approach the patient through their hearts.
The paternal physicians will tell it to you straight. This doctor thinks of themselves more as a consultant and leaves it up to the patient to either follow their advice or fuck off.
They may not show much emotion but you can always tell they care. You as a patient may be a pain in the ass so you may not recognize that they care because you have your own agenda. The kind of agenda that’s rarely in-line with health and longevity.
They don’t care to kiss your ass. They are there to get the job done. The job: take care of your health.
They learn from their mistakes without much ego and they keep up on their scientific knowledge.
This type of clinician, however, may not always put in enough effort to earn the patient’s trust upfront which makes for occasional disconnected visits.
If they make mistakes they will usually make them with the patients that they didn’t connect with.
The paternal physician is often faster, especially in the acute care setting.
The Maternal Physician
The maternal physician is caring, kind, and patient. They will connect with the patient before proceeding with the visit.
They also have a strong scientific backbone but are much more likely to break these rules in order to make sure that the patient is satisfied.
The irritable patient usually drops their guard with this kind of physician.
There are many meaningful visits in this doc’s practice and likely a higher patient compliance.
This clinician isn’t at all kissing the patient’s ass, they are instead trying to appeal to the gentle/warm side that every human being has.
Short of tickling your anus, this clinician will do anything to make sure you are comfortable, reassured and that you enjoy great follow-up.
They usually put a lot of energy into each visit and maybe even a little too much. Late at night before falling asleep they are thinking about what they may have missed or what else they could have done while the other doctors are already sounds asleep.
This clinician will make their mistakes usually because they got lost in the multitude of extra things the patient brings up during the visit.
Which Physician Types Are Better?
To answer which physician types are better it depends on what you think the role of a physician should be.
If it’s healing by curing disease and easing suffering they both can achieve the same. Though the maternal doctor will more likely convince the patient into compliance.
Who will have the better lifestyle? Definitely not Mother Teresa. She will be constantly worrying about her patients.
The Rock, however, because he is big buff and charming will get through the workday and not look back. Though he is also more susceptible to burning out, mainly because he has less invested into his practice.
We are forming a society of dependent helpless citizens. As clinicians we don’t empower our patients enough. We have patients running to the doctor’s office for a cough, sore throat or a rash. In their defense they are bombarded with scary stories of their genitals falling off if they don’t do this-or-that.
As clinicians we also fear that if we don’t spoon-feed our patients they won’t do what’s right for them.
Looking back over my career, I wonder if I would have been a more effective clinician if I was more maternal or perhaps prevented myself from burning out.