These are examples of a bias called Emotive Conjugation, which is the tendency for us to judge our own traits, attitudes and actions more charitably than those of others. We play down our own failings and foibles, coming up with excuses and explanations for them, whilst treating those of others more harshly and as personal flaws in their character.
Trust underpins who we are as doctors. We can talk all we like about autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence, create guidelines around confidentiality, consent and shared decision-making but none of it means anything if our patients don’t trust that we believe in and will uphold those ideals. Trust is everything.
When we stop and think about who has influenced us at work, there is often something about the way they actually lived their lives that made that impact. It wasn’t just what they believed, what they said, that struck us, it was how they acted, how they lived that made us stop and take note. If we are honest we want to be like them too, someone that people look up to, someone who sets an example for others and makes people want to be better. Is this something that just happens or can we actively choose to be like that?