Humanism Before Heroism in Medicine | Nursing | JN Learning | AMA Ed Hub [Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]

Humanism Before Heroism in Medicine

Educational Objective
To identify the key insights or developments described in this article
1 Credit CME

During the COVID-19 pandemic, heroic clinician narratives have been a prominent feature of media coverage. Health care professionals who worked ceaselessly in intensive care units, sacrificed time with their families to travel to severely affected areas to care for patients with COVID-19, and put themselves in harm’s way have been acknowledged and rightly celebrated.1 For example, New Yorkers had a nightly ritual of cheering and making noise in support of health care workers and offered public support in the form of signs, treats, and other measures of appreciation that referenced the heroism of the health care workforce. However, the pandemic has outlasted these public demonstrations, and heroic narratives ultimately do not serve clinicians or public health.

Sign in to take quiz and track your certificates

Buy This Activity

JN Learning™ is the home for CME and MOC from the JAMA Network. Search by specialty or US state and earn AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credit™ from articles, audio, Clinical Challenges and more. Learn more about CME/MOC

Article Information

Corresponding Author: Urmimala Sarkar, MD, MPH, Division of General Internal Medicine, San Francisco General Hospital, University of California, San Francisco, PO Box 1364, SFGH Bldg 10, Ward 13, San Francisco, CA 94143-1364 (Urmimala.Sarkar@ucsf.edu).

Published Online: June 10, 2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2021.9569

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: Dr Cassel reported being the co-chair of the National Academy of Medicine report Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well-Being. No other disclosures were reported.

References
1.
Bauchner  H , Easley  TJ ; entire editorial and publishing staff of JAMA and the JAMA Network.  Health care heroes of the COVID-19 pandemic.   JAMA. 2020;323(20):2021. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6197PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
2.
Remnick  D . Sunday reading: the heroic work of doctors and health workers. The New Yorker. March 29, 2020. Accessed April 23, 2021. https://www.newyorker.com/books/double-take/sunday-reading-the-heroic-work-of-doctors-and-health-workers
3.
Peng  J , Clarkin  C , Doja  A .  Uncovering cynicism in medical training: a qualitative analysis of medical online discussion forums.   BMJ Open. 2018;8(10):e022883. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-022883PubMedGoogle Scholar
4.
Reiss-Brennan  B , Brunisholz  KD , Dredge  C ,  et al.  Association of integrated team-based care with health care quality, utilization, and cost.   JAMA. 2016;316(8):826-834. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.11232PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
5.
Ofri  D . The business of health care depends on exploiting doctors and nurses. New York Times. June 8, 2019. Accessed May 24, 2021. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/08/opinion/sunday/hospitals-doctors-nurses-burnout.html
6.
Taking Action Against Clinician Burnout: A Systems Approach to Professional Well-Being. National Academies Press; 2019. Accessed April 5, 2021. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK552613/
7.
Mourad  MS .  Donning and doffing.   JAMA. 2021;325(6):536. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.26468PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
8.
Moutier  CY , Myers  MF , Feist  JB , Feist  JC , Zisook  S .  Preventing clinician suicide: a call to action during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.   Acad Med. 2021;96(5):624-628. doi:10.1097/ACM.0000000000003972PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
9.
2021 Physician burnout and suicide report. Medscape. Published 2021. Accessed May 21, 2021. https://www.medscape.com/sites/public/lifestyle/2021
If you are not a JN Learning subscriber, you can either:
Subscribe to JN Learning for one year
Buy this activity
jn-learning_Modal_Multimedia_LoginSubscribe_Purchase
Close
If you are not a JN Learning subscriber, you can either:
Subscribe to JN Learning for one year
Buy this activity
jn-learning_Modal_Multimedia_LoginSubscribe_Purchase
Close
With a personal account, you can:
  • Access free activities and track your credits
  • Personalize content alerts
  • Customize your interests
  • Fully personalize your learning experience
Education Center Collection Sign In Modal Right
Close

Name Your Search

Save Search
Close
With a personal account, you can:
  • Track your credits
  • Personalize content alerts
  • Customize your interests
  • Fully personalize your learning experience
jn-learning_Modal_SaveSearch_NoAccess_Purchase
Close

Lookup An Activity

or

Close

My Saved Searches

You currently have no searches saved.

Close
With a personal account, you can:
  • Access free activities and track your credits
  • Personalize content alerts
  • Customize your interests
  • Fully personalize your learning experience
Education Center Collection Sign In Modal Right
Close