• Sara & Colin Taylor

Workplace Culture

We often hear about the culture of medicine, and well, it's usually not in a positive vein. However, how often do we stop to consider what exactly the 'culture' is? When we refer to the culture of medicine, which is really workplace culture related to the medical profession, we (Colin & Sara) think of it as the intangible, always present energy, that can't be touched but certainly can be felt within a work environment. It's all about the people and their collective values and beliefs.


When it comes to physician burnout, culture is one of the main drivers creating an interesting juxtaposition between the individual and the system. We as physicians are responsible for the culture we create - so, ultimately, we can all play a part in changing the culture for the betterment of the system as a whole.

What do we think of when we refer to some of the problems in the culture of medicine? The following is a list of some that come to mind:

  • overwork

  • competition

  • perfectionism

  • bullying

  • stigma

  • discrimination

  • disrespect

  • omnipotence

  • blame

  • shame

  • busyness

We'll stop here before we get too carried away. At some point in our career, we can all relate to one or all of these inherent aspects imbedded within the medical culture.

The business world understands the importance of culture. As Peter Drucker famously said, "Culture eats strategy for breakfast." In other words, the company culture can determine the success of your business over strategizing. It's the heartbeat and lifeline of the business.

Medicine needs to embrace this reality.

Brené Brown's quote below made us think of the words 'rumble' and 'reckoning' she uses in her work. We, Colin & Sara, are rumbling with the concept of culture and reckoning that change is essential.

Could this be a tangible starting point, from awareness to action?

We have more to say on this, but for now, consider how true this quote is from Brené's newest book Dare To Lead: "Not getting clear with a colleague about your expectations because it feels too hard, yet holding them accountable or blaming them for not delivering is unkind."

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