Since antiquity, mankind has held a belief in the deadly sins. A list of seven infamous and destructive vices may not feel like the natural place to look for inspiration to help a health service creaking under a myriad of pressures and challenges.
But, there is one deadly sin that Doctors and other healthcare workers would benefit from indulging in more often.
- Gluttony? – Those christmas chocolates in the staff room are delicious, but you will regret eating too many and it doesn’t set a good example.
- Wrath? – We see injustice every day. However, revenge usually disappoints and escalates.
- Envy? – Being jealous of your friend who made a million in the city won’t help anyone.
- Lust? – Fraternising on the ward won’t help the patients.
- Sloth? – Laziness and not doing what you should will harm patients and your career.
- Greed? – Perhaps – Money is a good motivator, and pay is important, but the NHS is not the place to make millions.
I am thinking of course, of Pride!
The sin of pride is confusing.
We are proud of our children, our families, our heritage. Have you ever wished someone would take more pride in their work? Pride can motivate people to study hard and to do their best for others. Surely it is ok to be proud?
On the other hand, pride can lead us to be overconfident in our abilities, to believe that we are special and superior, and to ignore warnings thinking we know better. Pride can turn people into dangerous jerks.
Pride has always been part of the identity and perception of the medical profession. From the widely held image of the kindly and open minded yet educated and decisive physician to the stereotype of the arrogant and head strong old surgeon (sorry surgeons ;-)).