It is true that no one cares how much you know until they know how much you care
- A husband and father earns the right to lead his family by caring for his wife and children.
- A minister earns the right to preach by caring for his congregation.
- A physician earns the right to teach medical students and residents by caring for them, and the right to influence and even direct his patients by caring for them.
- A commander earns the right to command by caring for his soldiers.
- A manager earns the right to lead by caring for his employees.
- A teacher earns the right to teach by caring for his students.
- A king earns the right to rule and a prime minister or president earns the right to preside (exercise authority or control) by caring for his citizens.
Caring is not merely feeling benevolent emotions. Actually, since emotions are merely a side effect of thoughts and actions, benevolent emotions are an outgrowth, not a cause or a definition, or caring. Leaders who care do the following for those who follow them:
- Learn about them
- Pray for them
- Encourage them
- Talk to them
- Listen to them
- Rebuke them
- Mentor them
- Teach them
- Be accountable to them
Military physicians, just like all soldiers and military officers, should read military history. We will be better if we do.
Napoleon suggested “Read over and over again the campaigns of Alexander, Hannibal, Caesar, Gustavus, Turenne, Eugene and Frederic. … This is the only way to become a great general and master the secrets of the art of war. …” As true as this maxim is for line officers, it is also true for leaders in the Army medical department. By studying the struggles, victories and defeats of our forebears we can better surmount the obstacles we face today.
Dr. Jonathan Potts is a medical officer worth studying. He was born in Popodickon, Pennsylvania in 1747 and, with Dr. Benjamin Rush, attended the famous medical school in Edinburgh, Scotland. He returned to the colonies on learning of the illness of his fiancé, Miss Grace Richardson. Potts married her in May 1767 and completed his Doctor of Medicine at the College of Philadelphia, the first institution to grant medical degrees in America, in 1771. He began a private practice in Reading, PA, but responded to the call of independence, seeking assignment with the Continental Hospital Department, comprised of Northern, Middle and Eastern Departments.
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