How do you determine what is good and what is bad? What are the different levels of professionalism? What are the different kinds of professionals that fit into each level of professionalism? Many people ask these questions all the time when it comes to their healthcare experience. The answers to these questions can help them determine if they have the right accreditation and if the medical professional that they are considering hiring is on the same level as them.
One of the most common questions about professionalism is what is actually professionalism in the healthcare industry. Some people mistakenly think that the only level of professionalism is clinical or hospital-based. While there are certainly hospital employees who are considered to be professional, the clinical or the educational aspects of healthcare are where the true definition of professionalism truly lies. Just as there are many different professional groups within healthcare, there are also different levels or types of professionals who hold dual careers within the healthcare industry. For example, doctors holding dual positions at the same hospital might be considered to be clinical specialists while they are actually teachers at the same hospital.
There are three distinct levels or kinds of professionalism in healthcare. Clinical Practitioners, or clinicians, doctors who hold a degree or masters degree in one particular medical field and are pursuing a career in that field. Many clinicians choose to continue on with a master’s degree even after working in the healthcare industry for many years. There are also many physicians who opt to combine their academic experience (or academic and clinical experiences) to pursue a career in pediatrics, an area that is considered to be a clinical specialty.
Professionals such as nurses, therapists, and other healthcare professionals also fall into this category. When professionals work in multiple roles within the healthcare environment, they are said to be professionals who have multiple vocation. In general, healthcare professionals who hold multiple vocations are said to possess professionalism in healthcare. There is also what is called a mixed professional, which is a professional who holds a variety of jobs within the health care profession such as being an administrative assistant to a psychiatrist, or working as an emergency room doctor to a surgeon. Some healthcare professionals may only choose to focus on one particular vocation, however; professionals such as these can still be said to be professionals who have professionalism in healthcare.
One might argue that the term “profession” is overly broad, and that professional standards do not really exist. While the term does indeed describe certain characteristics that all professionals in the healthcare industry share, it is important to note that there are no official or universal set of characteristics that are deemed to define a healthcare professional. Rather, the idea of professionalism in the profession is more related to general attitude. Asking an administrator, teacher, or technician if they believe that their work is professional may not necessarily lend much insight into whether or not that person has an attitude that is considered to be professional. Similarly, the idea that an individual’s attitude makes them a good leader or good contributor to society cannot be measured with any sort of numerical measurement.
Propriety is an important part of having professionalism in healthcare professions. In addition to being professional in one’s job description, healthcare professionals should also be considered to have responsibility in their work. Prohibited behaviors should be identified as they occur so that proper procedures can be followed, and professional standards are followed in the workplace. While some professionals may choose to focus primarily on their own interests, they should still have a responsibility to uphold the standards of the profession and act in a way that demonstrates professionalism.