“How did your appointment with the specialist go, Mrs Smith?”
“He told me that he is the best physician west of the Rockies, which makes me wonder if he really is.”
The best definition I’ve found for humility is “an admirable quality that not many people possess. [A humble] person may have accomplished a lot, or be a lot, but doesn’t feel it is necessary to advertise or brag about it.”
When perusing social media I am reminded of the erosion of this quality. So many Facebook posts involve boasts about personal and family achievements. I have no problem with people sharing life details with their “friends,” but is it necessary to post how important you are? A not-uncommon Facebook phenomenon is to post amazing workouts or race results. While your Facebook acquaintances may want to hear if your race went well, they don’t want to hear about your splits, power output, average speed, or placings.
Could you imagine if surgeons starting sharing this way through social media? “My laparoscopic cholecystectomy was amazing—completed in 35 minutes through portholes the size of a 25-gauge needle. I got that apple-sized gallbladder out through a keyhole and never broke a sweat.”
Or financial advisors: “Even though it was an easy day, pushed through a deal every 20 minutes, making a million by the early afternoon.”
Or even carpenters: “We got that frame up in no time. My nail-gun rate was unbelievable.”
In 2003 I volunteered in the bike lot at Ironman Canada. As the evening wore on, the weary finishers collected their bikes. Close to midnight I checked one young man’s bike out of the lot and asked him how his day had been. He relayed that he was happy and took the time to thank me for volunteering. As he was leaving, a fellow volunteer pointed out that I had just asked the race winner, Raynard Tissink, if he’d had a good day.
Mr Tissink’s response is a perfect example of humility.
Lesson of the day: if you are good at something you don’t have to tell everyone, because someone else will.
Above is the information needed to cite this article in your paper or presentation. The International Committee
of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) recommends the following citation style, which is the now nearly universally
accepted citation style for scientific papers:
Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
About the ICMJE and citation styles
The ICMJE is small group of editors of general medical journals who first met informally in Vancouver, British Columbia, in 1978 to establish guidelines for the format of manuscripts submitted to their journals. The group became known as the Vancouver Group. Its requirements for manuscripts, including formats for bibliographic references developed by the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM), were first published in 1979. The Vancouver Group expanded and evolved into the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), which meets annually. The ICMJE created the Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals to help authors and editors create and distribute accurate, clear, easily accessible reports of biomedical studies.
An alternate version of ICMJE style is to additionally list the month an issue number, but since most journals use continuous pagination, the shorter form provides sufficient information to locate the reference. The NLM now lists all authors.
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For more information on the ICMJE Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals, visit www.icmje.org