Wednesday, June 13, 2012

On Being a Professional: 3 Axions. Right Reasons, Attitude, Aptitude.

[Full post on other blog.]

I've stated for a time my rubric of Professional Practice as a rhetorical question:
When it is ever acceptable for a Professional to repeat, or allow, a Known Fault, Failure or Error? [A: Never]
Some larger questions arise but won't be dealt with here, but they imply a meta-level, the "Profession":
  • Define 'Known' (which needs a means of transmission), and
  • What are, or should be, the Consequences of unprofessional conduct or performance?
Healthcare, Medicine and the Learned Professions (eg. Law) have a special (higher) onus of responsibility on them. In the scale of Professional Duty, they are the most stringent and demanding:
  • Fiduciary Duty or Trust:
    •  "involving trust, esp. with regard to the relationship between a trustee and a beneficiary" [Oxford American Writer's Thesaurus]
  • Fair Go, Fair Treatment.
  • No Rules, Buyer Beware.
I'm positing three axions of Professional Practitioners, especially those with a Fiduciary Duty to their clients:
  • Clean Motivation of Entry into and Practice in the Discipline: not Money, not Status, not Power/Prestige/Influence.
  • Continuous Active Learning and Improvement.
  • A trusting and safe environment, "The fundamental Clinical Requirement", for the patient to "open up" into a full, frank and unstinting clinical communication.
Lastly, there's the matter of Talent.

Some people are gifted in a field and given the same degree of training and practice, outperform us "mere mortals" by many times. Some might say "orders of magnitude".

The proof is Elite Athletes and Professional Sports. Talent counts, not just perseverance, determination and desire. Talent counts as much in the clinical setting as on the sports field - and the results are similarly different.

Professions don't do themselves favours by allowing those of limited Talent to practice.
It diminishes the field and fails the patients.

Ironically, through the Dunning-Kruger effect (tone-deaf performers self-assess as virtuosos), this can institutionalise perverse selection and assessment regimes:
   when the professors are tone-deaf, they reward those like themselves and remove all others.

Exemplified by the claim: "I'm the Best XXX in the South-West/North/Area/City/State/..."
It's an error of logic of the kind: "compared to what? by whom?"

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