0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
msJAMA |

Of White Coats and Stethoscopes FREE

Mark D. Hiatt
[+] Author Affiliations

Not Available


Not Available


JAMA. 1999;281(5):474. doi:10.1001/jama.281.5.474.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

A white coat. The country doctor's black bag. A stethoscope. A snake-entwined staff. The oath of Hippocrates. The clinical acumen of Osler and the compassionate service of Schweitzer. These are the symbols and personifications of our chosen profession.

One symbol of medicine since antiquity has been the Aesculapian staff.1 A glance through this journal will uncover the staff in the American Medical Association's emblem, depicting a snake coiled around the rough, knotty staff of the Greek physician Aesculapius. In this issue of MSJAMA, Nathan W. Williams explores the connection between snakes and the art of healing across cultures; Judith Anne Stanton introduces us to Aesculapius. Williams reveals that the serpent can represent the forces of both healing and destruction. Stanton demonstrates that society's alternating praise and distrust of the medical profession have been present throughout time and suggests that such ambivalence will continue.

Valerie A. Jones turns her attention to another Greek healer, Hippocrates, who bestowed on modern medicine a legacy of ethical thought embodied in his famous oath. This pledge has become part of a new ceremony that Jones describes in her discussion of a second inherited symbol of the profession—the physician's white coat.

Timothy Lahey, MD, argues that we must preserve the purity of the meaning behind such symbols as the white coat by always acting in the best interest of our patients.

By exploring the symbols that form and influence the culture of medicine, we hope to come closer to the heart of what it means to be a physician.

REFERENCES

Rakel  RE One snake or two? JAMA. 1985;2532369
Link to Article

Figures

Tables

References

Rakel  RE One snake or two? JAMA. 1985;2532369
Link to Article
CME
Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Web of Science® Times Cited: 1

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.