Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Rate yourself great!

Tell me you love me. Everyone wants a rating!

It started with questionnaires, with easy Cosmo answers. Until every magazine, every academic journal and every market surveyor was overburdened with what people thought about themselves. Now academic journals immediately reject all papers based on self-report questionnaires.

The next step was "get yourself rated". It started harmlessly enough with a few self-development cults getting their members to ring round their friends and to ask them what they thought of them. I always try to be positive. "Of course, you don't have bad breath, you have gum disease". "Of course you are nice to people. It might be true that you don't tolerate fools gladly, and that you have a wide definition of a fool. But so do many people"

Then business saw a way to make a profit "How is my driving?" Phone 0800, "Rate your teacher" and finally a doctor (who for legal reasons remains nameless - being nameless is worse than being illegitimate) set up a site called "I want great care". However humour was not far behind and along came http://www.ratemybacon.com/ and now http://www.iwantgreatgmcmembers.blogspot.com/

There is of course a serious side to this debate. 360 feedback has become part of medical appraisal. More often than not a reference tells you more about the person who writes it than the person it is written about. Equally, 360 feedback tells you more about the department where the person works, than the individual in question.

A department where all diagnosis is "evidence based" considers the doctor with years of experience and wide-ranging medical knowledge “odd”. A department that values research, considers a doctor who values human contact "unusual". People in a department that tolerates racism, can bully and harass a black man or muslim without anyone commenting or seeing anything unusual.

Life becomes a popularity contest when the views of colleagues are more important than the principles of natural justice. Those outside the mainstream can be bullied and harassed regardless of their personal strengths and weaknesses. Under these circumstances we would do well to remember that Hitler, Mussolini and Saddam, and in the UK, Catto, started out as popularly elected leaders

Of course, bullying and harassment do not amount to genocide, but they come from the same stable. It is an area where we would do well to have a zero tolerance zone.

See also insight

Copyright (c) Dr. Liz Miller


1 comment:

peter a. said...

We want to believe in the importance of our own opinion. We're told our choice matters, that we've worked hard and deserve life's luxuries. The world, and particularly the internet, is fast becoming an advertiser's dream.

And we shouldn't forget that just because we can say something, doesn't make it true. Doctors might sometimes feel separated by their intimate knowledge, but to jump into the myths fellow-doctors create is no substitute.