Wisdom in Medicine: Education, Decision making, and Communications

Burnout refers to the reduction to nothing through use. One would hope that medical professionals would not find themselves reduced to nothing through overwork, but physical depletion and mental exhaustion are common complaints throughout the medical field. 2018 Medscape data indicates 42% of physicians report burnout with an additional 15% reporting depressive symptoms. It would appear those that care for our well-being are overwhelmingly not being cared for themselves.

To address this problem, the Center for Practical Wisdom hosted a Wisdom in Medicine Meeting in November 2018. Dr. Howard Nusbaum stated, this planning meeting

"aimed to incorporate the idea of wisdom and wise reasoning into medical education to consider how to improve medical decision making and communications based on wisdom research".

Those in attendance included scholars from medical education across multiple universities and hospitals. Represented were the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois at Chicago, the University of Virginia, and the University of Iowa. In addition, participants from OSF Healthcare in Peoria and Rockford as well as The Hyde Park Institute joined in this day long conversation on how to bring wisdom into the medical profession and medical education. Overall, attendees ranged in disciplines such as clinical medical ethics, student affairs, psychology, philosophy, and bioethics.

The meeting addressed key questions in regard to components of wisdom (humility, tolerance to ambiguity, perspective taking, reflection, emotional intelligence) and their role in medicine. The think tank also discussed the need to incorporate wise reasoning into pedagogy for medical education with careful consideration for the humanities including social sciences and literature.

Ultimately, this planning meeting set three goals for a larger future forum. First to build a consortium of interested scholars, institutions, and organizations. Second, to specify the issues in medicine in which wisdom and wise reasoning can play a role to reduce physician burnout and improve medical decision making, doctor-patient communication, and health outcomes utilizing wisdom exemplar models. And third, to build demonstrative processes for test principles in hopes of bringing a broader perspective for the role of wisdom and wise reasoning in professional education to fields such as law, business, and engineering.

For more information on future wisdom forum and outcomes related to Wisdom in Medicine, visit wisdomcenter.uchicago.edu to join the Wisdom Research Network or by clicking here and follow us on Facebook, @UoCwisdomcenter on Twitter, and LinkedIn.


Join the Network    
Users are able to post wisdom-related news & publications, maintain a profile, and participate in discussion forums.