OUTLOOK — By Arwa Al Hinai — A quote I came across recently caught my attention. It said: “Professionalism: is not the job you do, it’s how you do the job”. It reminded me of an incident my friend told me about. The story she told me shocked me so much, that I decided to share it.
My friend told me how she went to see a doctor as she wasn’t feeling well. She had gone to see an ENT specialist and was asked if she wanted to see the “Indian” or “Arab” doctor. That was strike one. She was surprised and confused, but decided to go with whoever was available. She didn’t know how to get to the doctor’s office because the nurses kept talking to each other at their station, completely ignoring the needs of the patient. That was strike two.
Fortunately, she managed to figure her way and met the doctor she was assigned to see. While she was filling the doctor in and answering her questions, the doctor (who didn’t bother introducing herself) took a packet of nuts and started munching and chewing away. “So, what is your problem? Ear infection?” the doctor asked from across her desk. Strike three.
The last straw, or as we say: the straw that broke the camel’s back. My friend was so shocked that she decided to pick up her bag and leave. “I’d rather suffer the pain than go through such unprofessionalism!” she told me. This story made me wonder about the level of professionalism we see around us on a daily basis. To be honest, I cannot say I am satisfied.
Ranging from the governmental sector to the private sector, I can say that, as a citizen, I encounter the absence of professionalism quite often. Professionalism is and should be an ethical and moral obligation. Though it is a sign of development and growth of a society, albeit, professionalism is a standard that may not many excel at reaching.
According to the free dictionary website, the meaning of Professionalism is: skilfulness by virtue of possessing special knowledge. In my opinion, this is a rule that should be engraved in our day-to-day lives. Even though people are trained to be professionals, and have acquired great knowledge in their field, some fail to reflect any professionalism. I am not accusing every worker of lacking professionalism, however numerous encounters have led me to this conclusion. What happens in hospitals, as I mentioned earlier, is an example. Yet there are many more that happen on a daily basis.
What happens in schools is also another example of the lack of professionalism when dealing with students. Students are treated like illiterate individuals who cannot understand nor comprehend what is being taught to them. If a student has a problem, it is always the student’s fault. Why is that? Why won’t the teachers take some responsibility? True, sometimes, it is the student’s fault.
However, it is the teacher’s duty to advise the student and help him/her overcome this problem. Sadly, schools and hospitals are not the only places where such episodes occur. Completing paperwork is considered a nightmare for people who need to go to ministries to get their issues tended to. Various people have expressed their frustration at how slow their paperwork gets through one department to another. The people in charge are either out on their “two hour” lunch break, at a meeting, or will be back in five minutes (which can extend to one hour sometimes). Not to be unfair, sometimes, those people are there, but they would be so busy talking on the phone, that they’d completely and utterly pay no attention to the person in front of them.
What people do not seem to notice is that this kind of behaviour creates a feeling of resentment and hopelessness among each other. When a patient goes to see a doctor and receives no attention at all, the patient ends up leaving with a sense of neglect.
When a student turns to a teacher for support, but gets none, a feeling of despair is what builds up. When people take days and days to complete their paperwork and get nothing done, it leads to increased unproductivity. Hence, the reason why it is crucial that people realise the importance of professionalism and the long lasting impact it can have.