Sunday, January 24, 2010


Had you ever asked yourself what professionalism means? I suppose when we see a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer we think of the word professional. However, does the word professional automatically associates with the word professionalism? Can we honestly say that this diploma and passing the licensure examination is an automatic qualifier for professionalism? I do not know for you but in my book, they are different.
I hated going to the doctor. It is because every time I seek medical assistance, I ended up with a dreaded feeling. I felt I lost so much after that brief encounter with the doctor.
Before I proceed, I would like to make it clear that this is based on my personal view and experience. I will set one instance as an example. My mother have this particular doctor where she regularly goes for her check up. She persuaded me that If I would be having any medical concerns, I might as well go to her doctor. So when the chance came I did. She had her clinic at home and she opens at 7:00am. I went there at 6:50 am. After a long ordeal of waiting, her assistant called in to us at 10:30am. She said the doctor is ready. When it is my turn, she smiles with that fresh smile as if she have all the time in the world. Actually, she is good. However, I can not really feel the impact considering I waited for 3 ½ hours. When she was done with me, half of my day was already exhausted. And by what? What had happened in that span of half of that day? Actually this is not new to me. When I already have my medical card, I have the option to go to any accredited hospital. If and when it is an outpatient appointment, I have to wait for an average of two hours.
This happened to one of my co-workers as well. Our shift starts 2:00am to 11:00am. His grandma was sick. He accompanied her to a doctor. After lunch they went straight to the doctors office. Arriving at 1:00pm, they waited up until 4:00pm. Count consultation, buying the medicine prescribed, transportation hours consumed, they arrived home more or less 8:00pm. Bottom line, due to tiredness and exhaustion, He was late the next working day, lost attendance bonus in the amount of 5 thou and minutes deducted from him. He told me, it could have been different if the doctor arrived on time. I said, maybe there had been an emergency in the hospital. Maybe the doctor had an operation or something. Maybe...maybe. However, in the back of my mind, I can not help this one nagging thought. Is it not that operations are scheduled? Or, am I wrong? Hospital tasks are a matter of life and death. Doctors should be always on call. However, can all doctors honestly state that ALL, and absolutely ALL circumstances when their patient waited for long hours, is really because they are on the hospital on an emergency call. I think if one doctor could honesty state that he is on an emergency call and can not come as he promised, then advise the waiting patient through the assistant that he/she have an emergency call and will be arriving later on this or that time. Hence, the patient have the option if they would like to wait or come back.
One thing I am proud of in the call center industry- in terms of the agents- is that we value time. If our shift starts at 10:00pm. That means 9:59 up until 10:00. 10:01 is already late. So, if an agent have an attendance bonus of, say Php5,000. This means that logging in at 10:01 would automatically mean she or he already lost her 5,000 pesos for that month. We can not just smile and say, I had an emergency. Seconds lost have corresponding value, in money. Hence, if i go to a doctors appointment and I just asked permission from office, probability is that I would lose about a thousand for that consultation. That would constitute the doctors fee and the amount of the benefits and salary that I could have earned on those hours I waited. In one book I read, Being punctual is important because when we came in late, we actually stole from the person who waited for us. We stole this persons time. It is not actually for doctors alone. Some lawyers would set up an appointment and would arrive after one or two hours. What can you say? Specially when you have a pending complaint or a case being handled by this person.
I do not know for you but I think professionalism is not the Diploma nor the license that goes with the profession. Professionalism is a bundle of working effectively, adherence to working and social ethics, our attitude towards our work and towards people, and being on the dot at all times. This is the few components of the word. After all, TIME IS GOLD. TIME IS MONEY.
Note: This is NOT to stereo type all doctors, lawyers or any professional. If one is respectful to the time of clients, customers, patients and other people, then clearly this post in NOT in reference to that person. However, If one believes that this post reflects his or her working ethics, then please allow this post as a way to see the people on the other shoe and hopefully would be a ground for addressing the areas of improvement.
Take care every one.

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