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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin November 2010
41 NOVEMBER 2010 As the professional fields expand and professionalism is no longer the property of elites, is this not a good thing -- democratising and making egalitarian entire societies by providing the stature and rewards of professionalism to growing numbers of people in increasingly diversified and specialized pursuits? At the same time, it is appropriate to ask: how far will professionalization go? The term "professional athletes" is used -- should anyone who gets paid for work be considered a professional? Likewise professional actors and singers, who even have their own unions and guilds. Can acting and singing credibly be described as 'professions'? Are their practitioners professionals? Certain hallmarks of a profession were mentioned in the previous section, but perhaps the characteristic of a profession that stands out the most is asymmetry of its specialized knowledge. Indeed, this was Carr-Saunders' summation of professionalism: "A professional brings asymmetrical knowledge to the service of his client, and thereby exercises power over his client. Therein lie the duties and obligations of a professional to his client" (Carr- Saunders & Wilson, 1933, p. 499). Actors, singers and athletes ascend to prominence more through specific talents than knowledge. If specialized knowledge is used as one of the main hallmarks of a professional, then it is clear that certain occupations are not professions, for all that there are now many more professions than used to be the case. The professional, by definition, has knowledge that others do not have -- asymmetrical knowledge. How knowledge is attained, maintained, passed down and certified is an important part of professionalism. How it is put into practice is even more important -- in other words, how professionals use their knowledge has a great deal to do with real professionalism and its proliferation. Eliot Freidson wrote, "If there is a single concept by which the nature of formal knowledge can be characterized, the most appropriate is likely to be rationalization ... the pervasive use of reason, sustained where possible by measurement, to gain the end of functional efficiency" (Freidson, 1986, p. 3). Knowledge is arrived at by reason, yet, as author Paul Starr concluded, "The dream of reason did not take power into account" (Starr, 1984, p. 3). The difference between professional and client lies not only in asymmetry in knowledge; it lies also in asymmetry in power. What epitomises professional people is the way in which they bring knowledge to service and to the exercise of power. Professionals incur duties and obligations as a result of the power bestowed on them by their knowledge and by their membership of the institutions that equip them with their specialized learning. It is how professionals balance their power with their knowledge for the public good that, in the long run, builds and characterises professionalism. This, more than the field itself, defines whether professionalism is present or absent. Indeed, because of the growth of knowledge and the power that knowledge brings, it is necessary to extend the professions and to hold more and more groups of people with specialized knowledge to professional standards -- that is, to proliferate both professions and professionalism. This necessity springs from a very good and simply stated reason, namely, to ensure that the power knowledge brings is used for good rather than evil. I was originally in the profession of medicine, a profession that has been on a pedestal for a very long time. The white coat of the doctor commands our respect, and yet there are still many doctors who don't respect patients' time. How many have waited for lengthy periods of time in a doctor's waiting room? Are doctors just inefficient, or sufficiently arrogant to consider their time to be *Rates Published As at 10/09/2010 A FINANCE ALTERNATIVE FOR HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS Call 1300 633 536 www.medilend.com.au email@example.com mediLEND ML for Asset Finance - Equipment & Motor Vehicles for Practice Fit-Out & Refurbishment for Unsecured LOC - Personal & Business for Fixed Rate Line of Credit for 100% Commercial Practice Finance for 100% Goodwill Finance for 100% Residential or Investment Loans for Home & Contents Insurance, Debt Insurance mediLEND mediLEND mediLEND mediLEND mediLEND mediLEND mediLEND mediLEND 6.45% Rates From
ADA News Bulletin October 2010
ADA News Bulletin December 2010