By NIRAN AL-AGBA, MD & WESTBY G. FISHER, MD
There are 800,000 physicians in America and more than 65% believe the Maintenance of Certification process, known as MOC, has no clinical value for patients. For the first time in the history of our profession, physicians have a fighting chance to topple a Goliath-esque organization, the American Board of Medical Specialties.
In a 2018 survey conducted by Merritt-Hawkins, 78 percent of physicians said they experience some symptoms of professional burnout. Physician burnout is a public health crisis which threatens the health and well-being of all patients.
A burned-out physician reminds me of the fable about an eagle who believed he was a chicken. When the eagle was small, he fell from his nest. A chicken farmer found the eagle, brought him to his farm, and raised him in the chicken coop with his chickens. The eagle grew up living like a chicken, doing what chickens do, and believing he was, indeed, a chicken.
One day, a visitor came to the farm and was surprised to see an eagle –considered the king of the sky– strutting around the chicken coop, pecking at the ground, and acting like a chicken. The farmer explained that this bird was no longer an eagle, instead he was a chicken because he was trained to be a chicken.
The man knew there was more to this great bird than “pretending” to be a chicken. He was born an eagle and had the heart of an eagle, and nothing could change that. The man lifted the eagle onto the fence surrounding the chicken coop and said, “Thou art an eagle. Stretch thy wings and fly.” The eagle looked at the man and glanced down at his home among the chickens in the chicken coop where he was comfortable. He jumped down off the fence and did what chickens do.
The visitor asked the farmer to let him try one last time.