What I learnt this week: Who are unprofessional professionals? #WILTW

This is the 100th #WILTW

What is unprofessional behaviour?

(click here is the video doesn’t play)

Over the last 100 weeks I have reflected on many themes. From patient safety to team work, from removal firms to work-life balance. Interestingly professionalism has rarely been a topic of focus yet it is an aspect of our working lives that impacts on us greatly.

via applied educational systems http://blog.aeseducation.com/2014/09/business-education-lesson-plans-teaching-professionalism/
via applied educational systems http://blog.aeseducation.com/2014/09/business-education-lesson-plans-teaching-professionalism/

The General Medical Council released a blog by a junior doctor this week entitled “Why unprofessional behaviour is like pornography.” It explored the challenge of defining exactly what being unprofessional is. While professionalism might be obvious…

The set of values, behaviours and relationships that underpins the trust the public has in doctors” Royal College of Physicians 2005

….its opposite is not so clear. The severe end of the spectrum – being openly rude, or perhaps inebriated, is obvious but, should, and when do angry retorts or persistent snide remarks become an issue?

What I found really fascinating was a comment challenging the author they had not considered whistleblowers in their argument. The commentator states “It gives credence to a belief system that disloyalty to the profession comes before loyalty to patients,that you can be branded unprofessional because you stand up for what is right“. I didn’t quite follow all their logic but it goes to prove unprofessionalism is not an easy concept to define.

A tweet of mine once ended up being used in the Daily Mail to demonstrate how badly doctors can behave towards each other.

In hindsight I wasn’t proud of the tweet but I am not sure it counts in isolation as being unprofessional. The importance of having a meaningful definition is exemplified by the current #juniordoctors strike in the UK which has challenged some peoples expectations of professionalism. There have been calls by regulatory bodies for junior doctors to consider their position on all out strike action while others have cited poor behaviour on behalf of the government in their imposition and lack of engagement on the terms of the contract.

There are clearly no easy answers but as I reflect on nearly two years of #WILTW I am increasingly aware of the impact I have on others. Not just through my words but through my actions and behaviours. I am mindful things I once thought may have been acceptable no longer are (and vice-versa). ‘Who’ I am is important to me and being confident of my professionalism vital to that.

What did you learn this week? #WILTW

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