Should doctors be seen as skilled workers, adhering to rigidly proscribed protocols, or as medical professionals constantly called upon to exercise independent judgement?
Critics say that slavish adherence to medical protocols and evidence-based procedures are introducing an era of “cook book medicine.” Others say that the protocols are right far more often than they are wrong and that giving doctors the kind of latitude that they enjoyed in years past is not good medicine.
Here at Medical University of the Americas, we focus on questions like these throughout our curriculum. Our students wrestle with these issues in the clinical training modules that begin in their first semester, in classes on medical ethics, and in the research program on medical literature all MUA students are required to complete by the end of their fifth semester. Learn more about MUA’s curriculum.
There is no single answer to this question and it is likely our students will be searching for the correct middle ground throughout their careers. While today’s protocols are in many cases based on extensive clinical research, no protocol can be right 100% of the time. And the history of medicine is filled with examples of practitioners who challenged the prevailing wisdom/protocols and were proved right.
For interesting discussions of these questions see Doctors are more than just skilled workers. Here’s why. And "Protocols are for nurses."