Professionalism Defined

January 19, 2017
Richard M. Berlin, MD

Volume 34, Issue 1

After your exams, after your diploma, after all the nights on call, missed dinners and diagnoses, after your apologies...

Editor’s note: This poem received a “Commendable” award for the 2014 Hippocrates Poetry Prize.

 

After your exams,

after your diploma,

after all the nights

on call, missed

dinners and diagnoses,

after your apologies,

after you’ve reviewed

for an insurer and after

they’ve reviewed

and messed with you,

after your futile appeal,

after your boutique practice,

after you paid rent in

The House of God,

after drug reps

mined your numbers,

after MRSA, malaria

and all the MI’s,

after you have been

sprayed with blood,

urine, spit and stool,

after thirty thousand

patients and thirty

years of practice,

you can call yourself

professional

if the distance

between doing

what you know

is best for the patient

and your selfish

heart’s desire

has narrowed

to the width

of an angel’s wing.