Today's Hospitalist
 
Todays Hospitalist Home Current Issue Past Issues Blogs Jobs for Hospitalists Career Center Subscribe
Follow Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter Follow Us On Linkedin Meetings/CME  |   Email Alerts  |   Advertise  |   Store
Hospitalist Career Center
Hospitalist Salary Survey
Hospitalist Career Tips
Hospitalist Practice Closeups
Hospitalist Job Search

 
Clinical protocols
Coding tips
Hospitalist Practice Management
Growing Your Hospitalist Practice
Guidance on Staffing and Scheduling
Handoffs and Discharge
Surgical Comanagement
Subscribe to Todays Hospitalist Magazine
Hospitalist Email Alerts
Contact Today's Hospitalist
Editorial Board
Management
Privacy Policy


September 20, 2012
Of donkeys and kings

Let's indulge in a little fable. Once upon a time, there was a king of a little kingdom. It was a prosperous kingdom, full of riches. But it was little nonetheless, a little kingdom with high walls that gave an illusion of infinity to the kingdom's skies.
The king had a reputation for being very competent, an expert in kingly affairs and loved by the majority of his subjects. But the king had a flaw that his subjects did not know about: Because of its high walls, the kingdom appeared unique and incomparable in the mind of the king. This impression worked on the king's mind to the point of arrogance.

He forgot that he'd gone to school with subjects and princes from all over the world, all equally capable and intelligent. He forgot that his fellow kings all had the same stature and capacity. And he thought the emperor should treat him differently than the other kings because he contributed more to the emperor's coffers, which made his time and influence more valuable than the others.

His subjects mistook this arrogance for power and wisdom, although his fellow kings knew better. But because the king ruled his own kingdom, there was nothing the other kings could do to tame his airs.

Until one day, when a witch appeared in the king's kingdom. This was not an ugly witch nor a beautiful one. In fact, she was an average witch, with average powers and an average demeanor. But because she was a witch, the king thought she should come to the palace and entertain him.

Turns out the witch knew the opinion of the other kings and thought this king needed to be taught a lesson.

And so she went to see him. The king sat on his magnificent throne in his royal hall. The hall had high windows that looked out on the walls, so all the king could see was how far his kingdom reached.

The king asked, "Witch, you know all kings. Aren't I the most special?"

"And why would that be?" the witch responded.

"Well, look at my subjects. They are well-fed and healthy, and I respond to their concerns immediately"

"But so do all the other kings," the witch countered.

"But my subjects have more complicated lives, with more complicated issues that need a higher degree of skill!" said the king, his annoyance growing.

"All kings have complicated issues to deal with," the witch shot back.

"Well, witch, aren't I the smartest, most prepared of kings? Don't I work the longest hours to care for my subjects? Clearly, that kind of effort deserves greater riches and respect!"

"All kings work hard, are smart and are well-prepared."

"But I am special! I bring the most riches to the emperor's coffers!"

"Maybe, and the emperor may treat you better, but such things don't last. Accessibility bought is accessibility easily lost."

"Bah, witch! I don't believe you. Show me a trick! Use your magic to show everyone how great I am!"

And with that, the witch murmured a few words, spread her arms wide and said, "So be it."

A second later, the walls of the kingdom collapsed. The king could see the countryside from his high windows. With another flick of her fingers, the witch took the king floating into the sky, traveling the breadth of the kingdom, where he saw how hard the other kings worked, how well-prepared they were and how similar all their subjects were to his.

When the spell was over, the king looked at the witch and said, "Who cares! I am still the most special king in the world!"

"And so you are and so you will be, and all will see how special you are," the witch cackled, as she disappeared into a puff of smoke.

Immediately, all the subjects and ministers in the audience started laughing, pointing at the king. When he demanded why they were laughing, a loud bray came from his mouth.

The witch had turned the king into a donkey.

The moral of the story? You may think you're special, but you're not. Seems some of our colleagues do think they are smarter than everyone else. Or special. Or smarter AND special.

Some pushback may be needed to tame those airs. But if they insist on thinking so, here's a piece of advice for them: Don't be an ass about it!


Click here to add your comment

1 Comment(s)

Daniel Hettinger wrote:
Braying jackasses are the worst.
Milwaukee, Wisconsin | Sun, Oct 14 2012 19:06 PM

CHECK OUT RECENT POSTS
What's value in health care?
Read Blog (2)
Leaving clinical medicine
Read Blog (7)
2012: the not-so-health(y) news
Read Blog
Of donkeys and kings
Read Blog (1)
Health care isn't cheesecake
Read Blog (4)
Lessons learned
Read Blog
Too much specialization?
Read Blog (3)
Hurry up and wait
Read Blog
The "patient experience": Is it patient pandering?
Read Blog (5)
Occupy Health Care!
Read Blog (3)
The robot is in
Read Blog
The Resident (with apologies to Edgar Allan Poe)
Read Blog (6)
The best patient satisfaction survey ever!
Read Blog
ACOs and the "medical home"
Read Blog
My perfect hospital
Read Blog (5)
Do hospitals need more outsiders?
Read Blog
Is the physical exam necessary?
Read Blog (5)
Mentoring 101
Read Blog (5)
Learning lean
Read Blog
Setting discharge goals
Read Blog (1)
When do children become adults?
Read Blog
In memory of E.N.
Read Blog
2009: Changing jobs, and the other side of the stethoscope
Read Blog
Short honeymoon
Read Blog
Time for hospitalists to act
Read Blog
Getting a seat at the reform table
Read Blog (4)
Health care reform: the Sermo survey
Read Blog
Business as usual: the AMA's opposition
Read Blog (3)
Dear Mr. President
Read Blog
Friend me?
Read Blog
The new "universal physician"
Read Blog
Cybermedicine
Read Blog
Can't get no satisfaction?
Read Blog
Bells and whistles
Read Blog
This week's ranking
Read Blog
The newest new thing
Read Blog (3)
The wolf at the door
Read Blog
A case of medical deja vu
Read Blog (1)
Beeper blues
Read Blog (1)
Children are not small adults ... except when they are
Read Blog (4)

About Ruben J. Nazario, MD
Ruben J. Nazario, MD, is now medical director at Inovalon, a health care data analytics company, and is medical editor for Elsevier's First Consult. A pediatric hospitalist, Dr. Nazario is a veteran of both community and academic pediatric hospitalist programs. All material represents his own views and does not reflect the views of his employer.
Add your comments...
Click here to add your comment
Copyright © 2014 Today's Hospitalist. All rights reserved.
Home   |   Current Issue   |   Past Issues   |   Blogs   |   Jobs   |   Career Center   |   Subscribe   |  
Search   |   CME   |   E-mail Alerts   |   Advertise