Thursday, November 1, 2007

Professional pride and being in heaven

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.
Geetha Srinivasan


Anonymous said...

Dear pops(hope you do not mind me addressing you as pops,its a slang for a dad),
I do agree partly to your article but i strongly feel that part of arrogance is aquired by the patient's attitude.In the long run many of us change for the better by being in the company of senior collegues.At least i have benifited by being with a few of such broad minded and successfull seniors.I might not be of the same casting as of them in the future but certainly will cast myself in a unique blend of the good qualities aquired from them added to my own.
with regards,

G.D. said...

I don't know how n what this prof. pride is, but always feel proud to be in your company while in medical circles.Hope to imbibe atleast a few of your virtues.

ARK Menon said...

Dear Doc,

I met you this morning in your consutation room. As I told you during my conversation with you, I feel like meeting you once in away to see you, to have that healing touch with your slender fingers, to have that steth placed on my chest and back, and the that blood pressure reader used on me and await the announcement of my pressure reading like a not-so-bright student waiting for his test paper marks.!! I do enjoy these moments and finally, I get totally refreshed after your flawless examinations!!

We met thirty odd years ago. I have grown in many ways after that and I have certainly changed in may ways. But, in your hands, on your examination table, when sitting in front of you, I assune my old self, ARK of 1970s. You have given me an unchangable confidence that I am safe in your hands..... your touches heals me from whatever illness that I think I have and I come out of your room fully charged to do another round of ninteen holes golf on a sunny day!!

You generally do not talk much. You are sometimes very ubrupt too. Yet, being with you is one of my most celebrated moments. I want you to know that I am not always sick or ill whenever I appear in front of you... I am there to have that exclusive GRACE that is exquisite as far as I am concerned.

You have treated my father, Mother, myself, all my family members, my children, my grand children... three generations!! Please be there.... always... there is an endless queue of hopeful, life loving men and women and I to meet you. Please be there always.

Unknown said...

Hi Doc!

I for one am a hundred percent certain that you are going to heaven (in spite of the fact that you sometimes are grumpy and yell at people!:)) You have been seeing me for so many years and not once have you sent me on a wild goose chase of unnecessary tests or loaded me with unnecessary medication....and for that I am extremely grateful. I consider myself very lucky to be in your care and pray that you will have many, many more years in practice! (partly for my own selfish reasons!:))May you always keep well, play fabulous golf for ever and ever and continue scolding people so that they will take better care of their health and I wish there were more doctors like you! Thank you so much for everything! - Arati

Anonymous said...

Years ago when you were not even born, I used to go and visit an old GP friend.On one such visits while waiting for him to finish seeing the waiting patients, I heard him angrily screaming in Urdu, obviously at a patient.After a while the patient came out wiping his red face and sat next to me and said by the way of explanation, Sab [sir] Gussae me hai [anngry].I asked him why is he angry? He said, 'hamaara galthy [my fault]'.I didnot ask him what is the fault. But why is he sitting after the consult? I asked him. He said in Urdu.Doctor has asked me to never come back to him. This was even strange. Then why sit? He must have guessed. He said, ten minutes time I will go again, by then his anger will be down, I know him, he said this with a sly and confident smile.
He was right, he managed to consult the doctor with no more fireworks
I am sure both of you have not had this extreme experience!