What You See is Not Always What You Get
My dictionary defines the word professionalism as: “The skill, competence, or character expected of a member of a highly trained profession.” To me, the word brings to mind people such as doctors, dentists and lawyers. Bankers also used to be included in that category, but I dropped them from the list. I won’t even talk about the politicians!
While it is true that many individuals in the medical and legal fields are skilled, competent and of unquestionable integrity, my concept of professionalism further includes the idea of providing a clearly defined desirable product for a clearly defined price and completed within a clearly defined time frame.
Medical practitioners often fall short in that area. Of course, one cannot always guarantee the outcome of a procedure, but it is possible to predict a typical result. Case in point: Not long ago, I underwent a routine medical operation. My doctor performed many of these over the years and he and his staff should have an excellent grasp of the total cost to the patient. This would include the doctor’s fee, cost of using operating facilities, anesthetic fee, and cost of medication.
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We inquired about the total cost before the operation, so we could budget, but even though there were no complications in the procedure and everything went smoothly, we ended up paying more than double what we had been quoted. Not a good idea, as that not only caused us stress in paying the bill, but it also lowered our trust and respect for a doctor we had happily been seeing for many years.
Not telling the patient ahead of time what to expect is sloppy. My doctor could learn from my mechanic of many years. When I take my car in for repairs or a service, he gives an estimate of how much it will cost and how long it will take. He almost invariably completes the job ahead of schedule and charges me less than his original estimate. And, once fixed, it stays fixed.
Now that is professionalism.
Quote for the Week
The public do not know enough to be experts, but know enough to decide between them. – Samuel Butler