Over the last two decades, rates of physician burnout have skyrocketed. Health care systems have tried to remedy this problem by assembling “wellness committees” and offering “resilience training”—but this doesn’t fix the underlying problem, which is that Big Business has seized the profession of medicine.
In this reported essay, we meet the doctors who are trying to take it back—either through coming together through unions, or abandoning traditional healthcare systems and starting direct-to-patient care practices. These doctors offer hope for the future of health care, but also raise deeper questions about physicianhood. What does it mean to be a doctor today? How has the profession’s identity shifted over time? Can doctors be trusted with power? And what does doctors organizing mean for patients and health outcomes?