Prerequisites for professional success in clinical health sciences.
Article Type: Editorial
Subject: Sciences education (Laws, regulations and rules)
Medical students (Laws, regulations and rules)
Author: Christodoulou, Irene
Pub Date: 01/01/2010
Publication: Name: International Journal of Health Science Publisher: Renaissance Medical Publishing Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2010 Renaissance Medical Publishing ISSN: 1791-4299
Issue: Date: Jan-March, 2010 Source Volume: 3 Source Issue: 1
Topic: Event Code: 930 Government regulation; 940 Government regulation (cont); 980 Legal issues & crime Advertising Code: 94 Legal/Government Regulation Computer Subject: Government regulation
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 225792679
Full Text: The meaning of professional success comes in many forms, if you ask many people, health professionals or others. To be important in your field it is not identical with being successful, because "success" may vary. Success may mean to earn a high income, may mean to have an academic title, to be popular among your colleagues, to have an admirable career, to be offering great work to many people who are in need of health services, or even to teach young colleagues and students and guide them to the sense of magic you may experience sometimes in clinical practice.

Many students make the choice to get involved in the clinical health sciences sector because they wish to offer help to the society. Or even to offer health services to countries far from their country of birth. This is success, according to their opinion, because their target is to offer to people. Not to offer to themselves. Others want to offer help to their local societies, and for this reason they may travel to countries with wellknown universities in order to receive expertise. Others, just believe that titles and money are success (and those are a great number of people, the "money-makers") and study with the dream to become rich.

Whatever you may believe when you start your career, things may change. People who want to offer may love money and academic titles, and people who might think success is superficial things may enter gradually to the belief that health is so important that their own success and pleasure would be just to offer health to people.

The financial power

The prerequisites for success in clinical health professions are not the same for every country. For most countries, a good family income is one of the most important prerequisites for a successful career. Because if you have the financial power, you can choose your profession, receive better education, and don't have barriers in your career, as continuing education has a great to do with financial means.

The nepotistic power

To have a nepotistic base in your career seems to be important for many countries. Because you receive better education, you find a good job in the city you wish to work, and you have prospects to receive a better salary, fast career improvement, and better life. The same happens if you have involvement in any kind of elites that might be connected with your profession.

The motivation

However, money and medical kin are not enough. Because in order to become a successful health professional you need to be a person who is willing to offer help, to have a personality which will support you to work successfully in such a difficult profession. For example, there are health professionals who devote a great part of their lives to their professions. They give their lives in order to offer services to the society. They don't have the same free time, they don't have the same life style with other people because they give much time to their work. For example, surgeons may lose their sleep for many nights because they should be able to help their patients immediately. The way to find strength in order to go on this kind of life for long, is that you should be motivated. The motive in order to live a struggling life, may be your inner voice that you wish to help other people or it may be your passion for earnings. So, motivation, is an important pre-requisite for professional success if you are a health professional.

The supportive family

The fampily of the health professional has to keep a certain role. Which means that they will have to alter their life because they will not be able to live a normal life. This may succeed, and it may not, or the health professional may not manage to create a family due to his/her professional needs and career targets. Or the family may not be able to adjust and a divorce may arise as a consequence. So, we can say that the adjustment of the family is an important pre-requisite for the success, too.

The Country Factor

The country where a career is built is important, too. Because many times you may do everything needed, but the success may never come, because your country uses other kinds of criteria to promote health professionals. If your good work is not evaluated by your country's health management systems, then you may feel frustrated and lose your courage to continue to offer your life for your professional success. So, you may need at some time to change country of living or to change your profession! Many people who cannot change a country of living due to family barriers may lose their motivation. This is a massive phenomenon in Greece, where the lack of motivation of health professionals is thought to be a kind a flaw in the National System of Health, as described by the media. However, because the country has not the power to support the motivation of health professionals, the real problem is the vicious circle of health professionals' continuing frustration and job dissatisfaction.

The Age Factor

The age of the professional is very important. Because this kind of work needs from you to be experienced on one hand and needs somatic strength and fitness on the other, it seems that the best age for working in clinical health sciences is from 30-50 years. Because if you are young and willing to offer but not experienced you may not be able to offer as much as you would like, and also in advanced ages somatic strength may become a border to offer again.

The good health of the professional

The good health of the professional is very important. If there is for example a tendency for depression, it has been found that there is a strong possibility that you will develop the PTSD syndrome if you work in stressful conditions like Emergency Departments. (1) Depression is a common problem among health professionals and the PTSD syndrome is more often as it is recorded. Also, obesity and metabolic syndrome are rapidly developing inside Hospitals because, due to the night shifts health professionals lose their biological rhythms and obesity is very easy to be developed. (2)

Not to be romantic is important

Not to be romantic is very important in health professions. Because in your career many times you will know that the patient does not need an operation you have to participate in. If you warn him/her not only you may not receive a "thank you", but you will be in danger of losing your job as well ... This means that a person who is romantic is absolutely unsuitable to work in a Hospital. Because sometimes it is not so important to believe in something but you have first to protect yourself and your family. Of course, many unneeded operations will take place during your career, but if you are not asked to give your opinion, you should not get involved into it. Because one day you will lose your job, if only one patient among the dozens of patients who are operated without reason every year decides that he/she does not find your help so important for him/her.

Also, not to be romantic helps in other things, too. Patients tend to take advantage from doctors, nurses and in general health professionals who are devoted to their jobs. Which means that they many times pretend to need many things that they would not need if their therapist was not so very much available to offer ... This may lead to an overwhelming need coming from many patients who do not really know where to stop and do not really care about their therapists' rest time. If you are romantic to believe in their performance, you are lost. Not only you won't be able to take a rest, but in the end you will lose your own health and patience. No, patients cannot use health professionals like servants. Health professionals should have the will to put borders between the needed and unneeded things and stop the patients' demands when they are getting too many to be satisfied.

The Education Factor

Education is an important part of the health professionals' career. However, in order to be educated this should happen in the hours that you need to take a rest. If the health professional works too much in his working hours he will not have the somatic strength to go on educational activities. This will turn out to be a problem if the health professional is not educated enough, according to the current needs. There comes a dilemma. To be working too much and be offering to my patients all my energy or to be educated enough to help but be not so much interested in offering? This is indeed a very common dilemma, because many are the health professionals who are losing the golden balance between sufficient working and sufficient educational efforts. Some of them work too much but are not educated enough, some others are very much educated but they really do not offer much of their education because they do not have time to do it. It is important to remember that education should be received to be used in the clinical practice, and this is the most important reason we are pursuing it. Of course, to receive a promotion and a better salary is important, but what is the most important reason? I could say that the managerial ability to handle your energy so that you can be educated and sufficient in your work is a very important prerequisite for a health professional in clinical practice.

The ability to abandon the profession

Above all, the health professional should have the courage to abandon his profession if he is not satisfied and happy in it. Many health professionals are unhappy from their job, but continue to work inside Hospitals. This is catastrophic, because these persons cannot really offer much to their patients. Of course, not only they are not interested to be educated but also they are not really working more than a student. Also, they are harming themselves by working in a field they cannot offer in, because they are usually aware of this problem and they force themselves to continue. This problem could have been improved if all Hospitals had Occupational Medicine Departments, with medical doctors and psychologists available and ready to help health professionals to face problems in their everyday practice or even to reach to the important decision to change a job.


(1.) Crabbe JM, Bowley DMG, Boffard KD, Alexander DA, Klein S. Are health professionals getting caught in the crossfire? The personal implications of caring for trauma victims. Emerg Med J 2004;21:568-572.

(2.) Pietroiusti A, NeriA, Somma G, Coppeta L, Iavicoli I, Bergamaschi A, Magrini A. Incidence of metabolic syndrome among night-shift healthcare workers. Occup Environ Med 2010;67(1):54-7.

Irene Christodoulou

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