Professionalism and the rights and powers of ‘owners of institutions’

I have studied quotes for about three decades. There are people I admire because of their quotes. One of them is Mother Teresa. Sometimes I form an impression of these people without meeting them. I have great respect for Mother Teresa in this regard. But I have also been naive. Sometimes I took many nuns to be just like Mother Teresa, and got disappointed.

I work in a religious institution. I am a professional. Sometimes I face problems when those who own the institution or think they own the institution behave as if they are superior to others. Once a nun got angry with me because I did not attend to her in the clinic immediately but left the clinic to go the theatre to perform an emergency surgery to save a live. No amount of explanation could convince this nun. She had kept too long at the clinic. The hospital belongs to them and they must be seen first no matter what.

Why would anybody come to the hospital unannounced, on a day that is not a clinic day, but expect a medical doctor to see them when the doctors are seeing emergencies or in the theatres operating? Surprisingly they may get angry because they waited for too long before a doctor was available!

There are standard procedures to follow to get an appointment to see a doctor. There are phone lines to call to book an appointment, and a desk that somebody can go to to book an appointment for another person. Does being the ‘owner’ of an institution mean that the person does not need an appointment to see a medical doctor? The person can walk in at any time (even on weekends) and expect everyone to stop what they are doing (even stop attending to emergencies) to see them?

The president of country can come to my institution anytime, unannounced, to check on what I am doing, but he cannot force me to attend to him when it is not an emergency, especially when I have emergencies I am attending to, or operating on patients who have been booked for several weeks.

Power can be ‘sweet,’ but we must appreciate that others are professionals guided by the ethics of their profession and that self interest cannot override professional ethics built to serve the whole society including the ‘powerful’ and ‘owners of the institutions.’

No condition is permanent. One day, if these ‘powerful’ people and ‘owners’ find themselves on the other side, they will appreciate the role of professional ethics in building a strong society.

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