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« let's continue...present challenges. future predictions | Main | blogs and communities »

December 11, 2006


Karl Kapp


The concept of whether or not we are a profession is one of interest, I used to be emphatic that we are a profession. But of late, I am beginning to wonder if we are a para-profession like a para-legal or a dental hygienist. These people help lawyers and dentists accomplish their goals but no one really goes to just see them. They are just part of a larger goal...working with a lawyer or having your teeth checked.

They have value but not as much value as the profession they support. Maybe our profession is like that. Maybe business managers and employees are the real value of the organization and we are para-professionals helping them to achieve their goals and only adding value as part of the overall process not, valuable in and of ourselves, I am not sure I believe this 100% but it is certainly a thought I am beginning to have.

dave lee

thanks karl: the idea of learning para-professionals is a valid idea to raise. i'm not sure that i would be in favor of it in the end.

first, i think it important to point out that the two para-professionals you bring up, para-legals and dental hygenists aren't exactly equal. para-legals do require some education, but it is by no means as rigorous as a dental hygenist. to view dental hygenists as subordinate to dentists fits with the old school line that nurses are just doctor's assistants.

while it maybe argueable, depending on the firm, whether someone would seek out a para-legal for help, i'll give you that one. but i know that i have certainly made appointments with my dental hygenists with no desire to see my dentist at all.

that said, is "who people are coming to see" the best criterion for what makes a professional? should the mark "professional" be a standard of knowledge and/or quality of service? is a dentist who barely knows where to look for wisdom teeth a professional and a hygenist who provides the best quality care not? viewing job categories as either 100% professional or 100% not seems a bit archaic to me.

i still think the question is not are we professionals, but can we be and by what standards will others look upon us as professionals.

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