Observation: from the Latin observationem, a watching over, “an action… performed with prescribed usage,” as in the observation of a religious rite or a civic ritual expressing a patriotic ideal (OED Online 2021, “observation”). The ritualistic undertones point to the sacred nature of the everyday work of busy clinicians: seeing patients. Observation is crucial to diagnosis, to the creation of treatment plans, and to the promotion of healing. To do it accurately, unhinged from judgment, is an act of respect, healing, and mastery. For a patient to be accurately seen and heard is a major event in their journey—and too often a rare occurrence.

This essay may be found on page 151 of the printed volume.

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