Healing the Professional Culture of Medicine

Mayo Clin Proc. 2019 Aug;94(8):1556-1566. doi: 10.1016/j.mayocp.2019.03.026. Epub 2019 Jul 11.


The past decade has been a time of great change for US physicians. Many physicians feel that the care delivery system has become a barrier to providing high-quality care rather than facilitating it. Although physician distress and some of the contributing factors are now widely recognized, much of the distress physicians are experiencing is related to insidious issues affecting the cultures of our profession, our health care organizations, and the health care delivery system. Culture refers to the shared and fundamental beliefs of a group that are so widely accepted that they are implicit and often no longer recognized. When challenges with culture arise, they almost always relate to a problem with a subcomponent of the culture even as the larger culture does many things well. In this perspective, we consider the role of culture in many of the problems facing our health care delivery system and contributing to the high prevalence of professional burnout plaguing US physicians. A framework, drawn from the field of organizational science, to address these issues and heal our professional culture is considered.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Burnout, Professional / epidemiology*
  • Delivery of Health Care / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Needs Assessment
  • Occupational Stress / epidemiology*
  • Organizational Culture
  • Practice Patterns, Physicians' / organization & administration*
  • Quality of Health Care*
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • United States