Friday, 29 July 2011

Lead the Way

Apologies, dear readers, for having not posted anything until now! This last month has been somewhat of a roller coaster, what with attending several university appointments, filling in a 36-page NHS bursary application form (yes 36 pages!), and keeping with the theme of embarking on new ventures, but on a totally unrelated note, learning to drive.

I digress however, the subject of this post isn’t to bemoan the overwhelmingly frustrating and anxiety-ridden student nurse application process, but rather to discuss an issue that has come up in conversation rather frequently of late; the issue of whether or not health care professionals should set a good example to their patients.

I am somewhat torn on the matter, but ultimately I believe that if health care professionals are to promote healthier lifestyle choices to patients, the message is far more likely to be effective if they themselves lead by example. That’s not to say that I believe HCPs should be expected to abstain from all kinds of vices because they are born from some sort of bad-habit-hating super race! I do not. However, I do think that there is a risk of the message being undermined if informed professionals are seen to be at odds with their own advice – I don’t know about you but the whole ‘do as I say, not as I do’ ethos never really worked with me.

But isn’t this whole argument irrelevant as long as a person’s lifestyle choices do not directly affect their ability to provide the best health care possible, in other words do their job? I guess at the end of the day we are all responsible for our own lives and choices. Advice provided by health care professionals is just that, advice. It’s up to us what we do with it.

What do you think?

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