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Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by AggieJohn, May 17, 2007.

  1. AggieJohn

    AggieJohn Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    May 22, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    So I always thought that with becoming a doctor came becoming a 'professional.' But as I started to notice, everyone is a 'professional.'

    All job positions call themselves professionals. Professional writer, professional pest inspector, professional care giver. And the definition at seems to confirm this.

    I guess it seems to take away from what I perceived as being the professional world. Or am I being elitist? What do you all think about the word 'professional' as it applies to employment?
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  3. SomeDoc

    SomeDoc 10+ Year Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    Nothing wrong with it, I think. For all I know, there are legitimate professional, that is, expert hobby plane builders. The interpretation of what "professional" means depends on the context, just like there are so many definitions for the word. I'm sure the general public knows what it means when a physician is referred to as a professional versus when someone is referred to as a professional fill-in-the-blank.:)
  4. Bertelman

    Bertelman Maverick! 7+ Year Member

    Feb 11, 2006
    Had a Cooch
    ...and you are just now understanding this? You've never heard of a professional sports team? Professional killer?
  5. Hayden2102

    Hayden2102 Down Under 7+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 2006
    Tasmania, Australia
    My understanding is that your profession is just something that you do to earn a buck...
  6. Hayden2102

    Hayden2102 Down Under 7+ Year Member

    Nov 21, 2006
    Tasmania, Australia
    ... wait ... and this is upsetting you because... ?
  7. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    You are not being elitist. Lots of people try to call themselves professions. Bu traditionally there are only a few. In general, if the organization is not one of the "learned professions" (See definition 10 in your dictionary entry), it doesn't really qualify. So we are talking law, medicine, maybe one or two others I'm forgetting. Key distinctions for professions as opposed to other wannabees tend to be having career specific schooling, being self regulating with codes of ethics and conduct binding members (who can be censured, suspended, disbarred), licensed by the state, etc. As such most of the self declared professions aren't. "Professional" by contrast, has multiple meanings, and can mean a member of a profession or merely someone who earns money for their vocation. So a professional athlete is not a member of a profession (unless he subsequently goes to med or law school).
  8. logos

    logos 100% Organic 10+ Year Member

    Nov 15, 2002
    Out there.
    My understanding is being a professional relates to the power difference between professional and client. That is, you make decisions for your client with their, not your, best interests in mind.

    eg. The "professional" pest inspector can reccomend fumigating your house even if he dosent find any evidence of bugs. However an attorney or a doctor must zealously represent the clients best interests.
  9. Law2Doc

    Law2Doc 5K+ Member Physician Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    Dec 20, 2004
    That's the code of ethics/conduct component. Not an issue of power, as much as an issue of what you are charged to uphold. See my post above.
  10. F12

    F12 Waffley Goodness 2+ Year Member

    May 16, 2007
    Whenever 'professional' is used as a noun rather than an adjective, it refers to someone who has a job that requires a professional degree, e.g. Doctor, Lawyer, Dentist, etc.
  11. AggieJohn

    AggieJohn Senior Member 5+ Year Member

    May 22, 2005
    Dallas, TX
    I think I see things more clearly.
  12. crazy_cavalier

    crazy_cavalier T3-Weighted 7+ Year Member

    Dont forget to include engineers.
  13. Johnny_D

    Johnny_D Just strummin' away 5+ Year Member

    Nov 1, 2004
    blah, blah, blah
  14. Doctor Bagel

    Doctor Bagel so cheap and juicy Moderator Emeritus 10+ Year Member

    To add the HR perspective to professional, jobs at most corporations are usually divided into professional v. administrative. Professional jobs generally require a college degree or higher and are salaried so no overtime. Administrative jobs usually require high school degrees and have hourly pay with overtime.

    So yeah, being part of a profession means one thing, and being a professional can mean lots of stuff. I don't see why you'd really care, though. Doctors still have generally higher social status than janitors even when we call janitors professional environmental engineers.
  15. StrengthDoc

    StrengthDoc 7+ Year Member

    May 10, 2007
    Republic Of Texas
    ...and don't forget the world's oldest professionals!!! :love:
  16. Critical Mass

    Critical Mass Guest

    Feb 23, 2007
    To me, there is also a distinction between professional school and graduate school. Graduate medical education is what doctors do after they get an MD, so I don't consider myself a graduate student in medical school. To me, the first two years are just an extension of undergrad--brute force rote memory trumps demonstration of understanding. The understanding/application part comes later.

    A "professional" in my view is an employee who has a license or certification to perform a task set that is monitored by a governing body. An R.N., for instance, has a license that is regulated regardless of what degree he/she has. Businesses will often say that makes the nurse more valuable than say someone with a Bachelor's degree in biology with no professional accreditation (not to mention the fact that they are a dime a dozen relative to the demand that nursing has).

    Engineering is similar. Somebody chime in here--isn't a PE a desirable goal?
  17. AmoryBlaine

    AmoryBlaine the last tycoon 7+ Year Member

    May 1, 2006
    That is certainly how I have understood it. Today, at least where I live, saying "I'm a professional" bascially means "I can't wear jeans to work."

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