i’d like to follow up on evan’s guest post yesterday, entitled, why professionalism is of the devil. evan blogs at wellbeing and health – this is a topic he’s passionate about.
evan says that his problem lies with professionalism, not with professionals. they lie with professional organizations and all that comes with them.
i think evan raises a number of interesting points. i’m going to address three here.
professional organizations are made up of professionals. granted, the professionals who actively participate in professional organizations are usually just a very small fraction of the professionals they represent. but then this is really similar to democracy, isn’t it? there are only a few people who bother to get involved. and yes, a good portion of those who do get involved are power hungry, busybodies or control freaks.
but not all of them are. many of the people who get involved seriously care about the issue, and seriously want to make something really good happen for the constituency. almost always, there are not nearly enough people to make it all happen, and things turn out to be less-than-ideal.
insurance is a double-edged sword and i keep dancing around it all the time. we’re talking about risk here. here are the categories i see:
mitigating loss and suffering through making prudent provisions for adverse events
- that do not happen often but do happen once in a while (car insurance and health insurance are good examples) and which carry small to very large costs
- that happen very rarely but when they do occur they carry enormous costs (e.g. malpractice suits)
- that happen very rarely and when they do, they carry small to very large costs (e.g. many forms of home insurance)
of course insurance is much more complicated (just think of all the mind-boggling small print that excludes a myriad of circumstances) but i think the above can be a good first guideline.
i think the operative word above is “prudent”. going without professional insurance that is the equivalent of the first instance is silly. but reaching for insurance in all categories will often hamper the delivery of good service to the patient – simply because often, for all intents and purposes, the client has ceased to be the patient. the client is now the insurance company/companies. we hear a lot of horror stories about that from the U.S. i’m glad i live in canada, where it’s a bit better.
evan says, “professions prevent the learning of practitioners.”
i’m not sure about that. all the professional organizations i know require continuing education. this is a topic i’ve often thought about, to a large degree, i think, because of my work with people with chronic conditions (e.g. chronic pain, or depression). medical doctors tend to be quite ill-informed about these health issues. the question, however, is how to help them learn more about it. doctors are helplessly overworked (one could say that being a doctor is in itself a chronic health condition). like anyone else, they want to have leeway in terms of what they do for continuing education. the things they CAN learn more about are endless. so they’re going to pick their battles. and if one of the continuing education courses comes sweetened by a conference – literally sweetened, with rum and cakes – who can blame them for going for it?
what i would like to see there is more patient groups that aggressively go out and find ways for professionals to get continuing education.
is that a pipe dream?