""Building esprit de corps: learning to better navigate between" my" patient and" our" patient

Journal of Clinical Ethics 21 (3):232-237 (2010)
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Excellence in the care of hospital patients, particularly those in an intensive care unit, reflects esprit de corps among the care team. Esprit de corps depends on a delicate balance; each clinician must preserve a sense of personal responsibility for “my” patient and yet participate in the collaborative work essential to the care of “our” patient. A harmful imbalance occurs when a physician demands total control of the decision-making process, especially concerning end-of-life treatment options. Although emotional factors may push a physician to claim decision-making exclusivity, compounded by a legal framework that overemphasizes individual responsibility, esprit de corps can be preserved through timely communication among clinicians and a recognition that optimal care for “my” patient requires effective team practice.



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Jackson Schwartz
University of Georgia

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