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Cynicism as a strategic virtue.

Rose, Arthur and Duschinsky, Robbie and Macnaughton, Jane (2017) 'Cynicism as a strategic virtue.', The lancet., 389 (10070). pp. 692-693.


Doctors are often forced to negotiate between imperatives of policy and the demands of good practice. Cynicism arises in the welter of difficult feelings elicited by such contexts, and is widely assumed to be bad for patients, national health systems, and for the clinicians themselves. Cynicism is typically regarded as a cause of distrust, professional misconduct, and a pathway to burnout. It is true that untempered cynicism can have these consequences. However, much of the cynicism seen in contemporary health care is not untempered, nor is it simply negative or unprofessional behaviour. Rather than simply the shrivelled hope of good practice, we argue that more balanced forms of cynicism can support rather than undermine quality of care.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Publisher statement:© 2017 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:31 October 2017
Date of first online publication:17 February 2017
Date first made open access:31 October 2017

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