Has “Professionalism” Gone Too Far In Healthcare?

March 14, 2015

I asked this question tonight on Twitter. “Healthcare people, think about this: who do patients tend to like better… The doctors or the nurses? Why??”

What do you think that answer is? Who is it that patients and their families often comment positively about? My guess it’s not the doctor. And I don’t want doctors to think that this is a shot at the physicians because it’s not. But most often, it seems to me, people find the nursing staff to be one of the most positive parts of their visits to the hospital or other medical facility. Is it the way they dress? Is it the degree that they possess?

Way too often the discussion comes up on social media and in other outlets where Athletic Trainers complain about what other Athletic Trainers wear. “You should be dressed professionally. Other healthcare professionals are dressed professionally.” But what is “professional” in the healthcare arena. Let’s be honest and let’s be realistic– there is no definite answer. Go back to the top. I think the nurses are the ones people respect and are positive about. Nurses are often wearing scrubs. The doctors are often wearing a shirt and tie. So why do nurses get respect?

Let’s talk about degrees. Doctors obviously have a very advanced level of education. Nurses have an associates? A bachelors? Maybe a masters? But physical therapy and athletic training all think we need advanced degrees in order to get any respect. PTs now require a Doctorate in Physical therapy. Occupational therapists require a masters in Occupational Therapy. Athletic trainers currently require a bachelors degree, but there is a push to require a Masters in Athletic Training. Why? “For respect.” So why do nurses get respect?

Maybe it has nothing to do with what you’re wearing. And maybe it has nothing to do with what degree you hold. Maybe it has to do with how much you care. Maybe it has to do with the attitude in which you do your job. Maybe it has to do with the relationships you develop with your patients.

Thoughts? Comments?

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