Practicing from the Heart in the age of Technology
On a cold and dreary night, long ago in New York, after a long and arduous day of working in the South Bronx, I was going home on the subway. I was surprised, when for the third time, I heard someone say; Hey doc, how is it going?
I was so tired that I had not noticed the pertinence of the question, till the third time. Amazed, I asked the man sitting next to me: How do you know I am a doctor?
"Your stethoscope." He said, pointing to my neck.
I laughed, after touching my neck and noticing that the head of my scope was sticking out of the back of my collar. In my haste and fatigue, I had forgotten to take it off, when I put on my parka, and the head of it was hanging over the hood.
Sheepishly, I removed it and placed it in my pocket. "I am just a PA student." I informed him. Which ended the uncomfortable conversation.
I find it interesting that a simple tool, such as that, clearly identifies one's occupation. Furthermore, I find it amusing that I still remember the incident after fifty years, and often wonder if I would still be greeted, had the tool identified my occupation as something else.
It shows the respect and value, our profession awakens in people. Not many can make such a claim. It also reminds me of the many times we hear on the news of how, some of our colleagues violate this sacred title. I suppose that we are all guilty of taking advantage of our position at some point or another. But when it rises to a criminal level, it tarnishes us all. So who is to blame, is it our responsibility to police each other, are we our brother's keepers, or should we fault the system that, in many cases, has unrealistic demands of us. Maybe it is all of the above. Still, I feel proud to also note that looking comparatively, our group's offenses are relatively small. But, they are there and when they come out, it makes us all wither. Our profession deserves better than that.