The Herman Trend Alert|
July 25, 2001
Time to Care is Waning
Years ago, people entered the helping professions because they genuinely cared about people. They wanted to make a difference by giving of their time and attention to those in need. For years, they were able to do their jobs - and enjoyed it.
That was then . . . before life started speeding up, before cost controls and downsizings and doing more with less. Now, life is very different. There's simply not enough time to do the job and give people the time and attention healthcare professionals believe patients need. The result is that disillusioned doctors, nurses, and even some dentists are leaving their professions. Social workers are also finding other ways to apply their skills.
Headlines in newspapers and magazines proclaim the critical shortage of nurses. In fact, some say we do NOT have a shortage of nurses. There are hundreds of thousands of caring women and men who have been trained as registered nurses. What we have is a critical shortage of men and women who want to work as nurses under conditions dictated by our current system.
We fear that this combination of time-crunch and cost-cutting will affect other professions as well. It has already affected the legal profession. Disillusioned young attorneys, accountants, and engineers are leaving their professions, seeking something better. The pressure to produce more with less is almost unbearable. Who's next?
But there ARE some answers. As a society, we could urge better relationships between professional and patient/client. We can use technology to achieve increased productivity and ease the pressure we place on professionals. We can even use our creativity and intellectual capital to devise ways of working smarter.
In our book, LEAN & MEANINGFUL, we emphasize the vital importance of being able to do meaningful work. For people in the helping professions, this meaningfulness includes providing support so that the professionals can get their jobs done. Whatever we do, we need to do it soon! If people in the helping professions don't feel our support and backing, we'll chase young people into other fields and there won't be anyone there to help.
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