Professional Care

Let’s look at care. By definition, it is ‘effort made to do something correctly, safely, or without causing damage/things that are done to keep someone healthy, safe, etc./ things that are done to keep something in good condition’. So this is a technical business, applying equally to nursing a patient or to pruning roses or maintaining a car. Caring is simply doing the job properly and thoroughly, leaving out nothing in the manual or anything your experience teaches you. It is quite easy, really: learn what you have to do to care in the context of the care you are responsible for and follow the rules. If you can’t do this find, another job and use such brains as you have elsewhere. This applies whether you are a gardener, car mechanic, nurse or surgeon. So where does ‘compassion’ fit in? Compassion is a ‘deep awareness of the suffering of another accompanied by the wish to relieve it’. We are on more tricky ground here, because compassion does involve emotion. While compassion may inform care, it is not analytically a component of care, nor can we expect it equally of everyone in a caring role. We are all made, or are taught by experience, differently in our emotional range, from the ‘earth mother’ who wants to cuddle everyone to the dispassionate academic. Arguably, those without a compassionate nature, should not be involved in jobs in which compassion is a desirable element, but how do you test for this.

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