Humility is the medical virtue most difficult to understand and practice. This is especially true in contemporary medicine, which has developed a culture more characterized by arrogance and entitlement than by self-effacement and moderation. In such a culture, humility suggests weakness, indecisiveness, or even deception, as in false modesty. Nonetheless, an operational definition of medical humility includes four distinct but closely related personal characteristics that are central to good doctoring: unpretentious openness, honest self-disclosure, avoidance of arrogance, and modulation of self-interest. Humility, like other virtues, is best taught by means of narrative and role modeling. We may rightly be proud of contemporary medical advances, while at the same time experiencing gratitude and humility as healers.


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 206-216
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Archive Status
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.