Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Virtues Of A Healthcare Professional

Virtues are defined as positive traits of character to think and act in ways that are good. It is to do what is morally right. I will not attempt to discuss the concept or philosophy of virtues as a whole, that is not my area of expertise.  But I have been in the health care industry  and teaching profession long enough to know that the character of a person is not given much weight in the evaluation process for entrance to medical or nursing schools, nor is it given much focus in the teaching curriculum.  This lack of emphasis is in my opinion, a big oversight on the part of medical/nursing schools and residency programs.
What are these "virtues" that I am talking about?  In no particular order, here is my short-list of virtues that I feel healthcare professionals or those thinking of becoming one, should have in large doses. 
  • compassion
  • empathy
  • conscientiousness
  • honesty
  • humility
  • faithfulness
  • fairness
  • courage
  • patience
  • prayerfulness
In this day and age of materialism, when more and more people focus on self, when the idea of living simply so that others may live is now considered unrealistic and foolish, when practical purposes rule our lives...what can the healthcare professional do to go against the tide?   I always say that, as doctors, as nurses, we are more than the ordinary man...people put their lives in our hands, therefore we can not be any less for them.  In the final paragraph of the Hippocratic Oath it says "  if I fulfill this oath and do not violate it, may it be granted to me to enjoy life and art, being honored with fame among men for all time to come; if I transgress it and swear falsely, may the opposite be my lot." Unfortunately, new graduates of medicine are no longer required to recite this oath.  Maybe its time to bring it back.

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