Past Event

The Virtuous Patient: The Middle Way Between Doormat and Royal Pain for Patient Self-Management

A Road Scholar Program by J. K. Miles

Clinical and philosophical ethics have done a great deal to explore the virtues needed for excellent doctors and nurses. However, the virtues that make for successful patients in the patient/provider relationship have been largely unexplored. This presentation by Quincy University philosophy professor J.K. Miles, Ph.D., offers a framework for thinking of the virtues needed for a patient to assume the role of self-manager.

A virtuous patient, according to this account, is neither a “doormat” nor a “royal pain” for medical staff. The patient’s role in the doctor-patient relationship should be thought of as a social role that encompasses particular goals, practices, and virtues, much as a medical provider’s social role does.

From the point of view of virtue ethics, illness is a particular kind of adversity very different from adversities such as loss of a job or the loss of a loved one. Once we understand illness as adversity to flourishing, we can identify the virtues that enable people to cope with illness well in their role as patient.

It so happens that these virtues fit comfortably into the four cardinal virtues of antiquity (fortitude, temperance, justice, and practical wisdom). Patient education should encourage the cultivation of these virtues, especially through the use of patient mentors.

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This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Bruce or Barbara Harmel, 815-759-9644.