WCBA July 7 and 12, 2008: Identity and Competence

I meet a woman at a reception and exchange pleasantries. "Hi, I'm Ms. Jones," she says. "Hi, I'm Dr. Goldman," I reply. Now, I rarely if ever introduce myself in a non-medical setting as "Dr. Goldman." But some of my colleagues do. And, if I did as well, in that brief exchange, I would have no idea what Ms. Jones does for a living. But Ms. Jones would have at least some idea that my line of work comes from a short list that includes physician, dentist, veterinarian, naturopath, or chiropractor. Forgive me if I've left any out!

Medicine and the other professions I listed are the only ones that come with an automatic introduction. Quite a few of you think that's unfair. It's especially irksome to the true "doctors" in our society, those who possess a PhD. On this week's encore presentation of White Coat, Black Art, we take a close look what it means to be identified in society as a physician. We explore the history of the white coat as the physician's uniform, and find out what street clothes MDs like me wear underneath. And, we look at the societal perqs doctors get -- just for being a physician.

That's July 7, at 1130 am (noon NT).

And on Saturday, July 12 (930 am or 10 am NT on CBC Radio One), we conclude our two-part look at the competence of Canada's physicians and nurses, and the system that's supposed to protect the public from health professionals who aren't up to scratch.

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