Public Lecture: Conditions for Corrosion - Cultivating Hope as a Condition for Correction

Ask any physician about the state of health care today, and the prognosis will ostensibly be dismal. Although psychologists use the term ‘negativity bias’ for the human tendency to attend disproportionately to negative over positive information, the negativity that physicians feel toward the profession is no mere bias. Doctors regularly experience betrayal, brokenness, and moral injury. This paper seeks to push back against the negativity by taking up a version of the conference subtitle. It asks not ‘How are good health care workers made and lost?’, but rather, ‘How might good health care workers be revived?’ and answers this question through (1) a description of the conceptual relationship between hope and despair; (2) an account of hope and despair that draws from but is distinct from previous definitions; and (3) a case for medical practitioners to cultivate hope as a condition for correction rather than corrosion.