Views expressed on this blog recently got me into seriously hot water and resulted in a watershed experience in my life.
Only time will tell if that turns out to be for good or ill.
The inevitable subsequent email exchanges with friends and family generated some interesting views on professional practice. One such exchange I thought worth sharing here.
My cousin is a GP. He was educated in South Africa, where he spent the first several years of his career in private practice. He is now living and working in the UK and chafing at the bit under the NHS. From time to time, he also gets into trouble by rocking the boat with his independent thinking and approaches.
As he says in his email (language warning - partial censorship is mine):
Sometimes it does not matter that you do the right thing but if it is not done according to the sometimes very stupid rules, one gets into sh*t. Your private opinions of course do not mean that you cant do a job according to the rules - that is being a professional.His own experience is that of patients saying:
thank you for being personalI sometimes wonder about professional practice, about the different views of this indefinable concept. I wonder if the outspokenness that have gotten both him and me into trouble are familial traits or cultural mores. South Africans often cause gasps and winces in the UK, but others seem to have learnt to hold their tongues a lot better than I have.
Thank you for helping
You are the first doctor who has examined me in the last 1/10/100 years - delete which ever is applicable. Imagine that - a doctor who is more like a witchdoctor able to diagnose and decide from the safety of his chair and computer and not lay a hand on the patient . . . . . .
I'm not very good at subterfuge. I cope much better in an environment where all the cards are on the table and spades are called spades. I don't understand the need for poker faces and secrets - and can't see how they equate to professional practice. Perhaps I have a mild form of Aspergers!
I consider it far more professional to say, right, this is where we are, warts and all, and this is what we plan to do about it. Am I alone?