Clinicians' Power and Leadership Academic Article uri icon


MeSH Major

  • Leadership
  • Patients
  • Personhood
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Power (Psychology)


  • Despite medical leaders' increasing acceptance of the idea that the whole person should be the focus of care, empirical studies show clinicians generally remain focused on narrower goals: disease categories, standardized treatment procedures, and objective measurements of health improvements. We assume doctors want to do a good job, consistent with their perception of the goals and norms of their profession, so they practice medicine based on the illusion that clinical medicine is "knowledge treating disease," not people treating people. We believe that doctors' seeming reduction of patients to clinical objects results from not seeing themselves as leaders for their patients or accepting their constructive power in clinical encounters. © 2012 by The Hastings Center.

publication date

  • November 2012



  • Academic Article


Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1002/hast.97

PubMed ID

  • 23138376

Additional Document Info

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