Professional pride is important to lead a satisfactory life. Pride should not be mistaken for arrogance that often our profession is accused off, with some justification. Arrogance is unconcerned disregard and I know it all attitude towards fellow men in general and patients in particular. This is the worst quality in medical men and even some of the most technically qualified suffer from this. To some extent the disrepute that the profession has come to, is because of this arrogance.
Pride is an entirely different quality. It is the pleasure and satisfaction one derives for being a competent professional and the feeling one gets when one does a job well. In general medical practice there are lots of opportunities for this. But I have often found this pride lacking in my colleagues. Is it because they feel an inferior status being general practitioners or is it because they are not doing the job as it should be done or is it because their quality of work is not what it should be? It could be a combination of several of these factors. For example let us say you made a brilliant diagnosis of an illness in one of your patients and you should be feeling good about it and justifiably proud. But you are not feeling good though the patient comes and profusely thanks you. Why? Is it because you have accepted a cut from the lab? Or is it because you sent him for some tests that were not required or is it because you kept treating him long after the illness has healed?
A doctor who is unethical will not have that pride and the feeling of being in the wrong will eat into his vitals and this feeling will lead to emotional unhappiness and the quality of life deteriorates. You can always set a price on your service, but don’t compare the performance which can be great with its compensation, be it money, power or fame, which can be often trivial.
Pride in being a true professional is like a halo around one's head. Try and develop that in the course of your professional life. Not only your colleagues but also your patients and friends recognize it and when you finally bid good bye to this world, at least there will be some memory of you left behind in the hearts and minds of your fellow men who survive you.
[This is part of an editorial I wrote some years ago in a professional journal]
I have not been to heaven and unlikely to go if there is one, but I have experienced what it means to be in heaven. That is when a seriously ill person returns back to normal health due to my efforts.
On a day with dimpled light,
In a world of greed and strife,
With a message clear and bright,
God’s angels come to life.