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February 2006 - WHY?

Many of us will have breathed a big sigh of relief as the fruit of several years' work was dispatched to Sydney prior to Christmas. I suspect few appreciated the pressure they were under until the box(es) left their desks and suddenly there was a vacuum. Not a process I would choose to endure again in the near future.

As the new year gets under way I find myself responding to requests for spirometry workshops, equipment capital "business" cases and so on. I have long campaigned to raise the bar on the quality of our work and the recognition of our profession as being one of scientists. The driver that got me through the accreditation nightmare was the ideal of being able to guarantee quality.

As I consider requests for spirometry workshops I am struck by the fact that the culture is still such that the desired product is "Everything you need to know about spirometry in 30 minutes". This request is even made by people who have participated in intensive multi-day courses I have run! As for equipment? ..

How many skirmishes make up the battle I wonder? There is no doubt that many skirmishes have been won over the last few years but what of progress in the battle for recognition? The culture seems too entrenched for an end to be visible let alone appear attainable - at least here in the West. This foot soldier is fast approaching the time for tactical retreat and probably for discharge - honourable or dishonourable. It is time for fresh troops to enjoin the battle.

The rest of my thoughts this month, despite three drafts over the weekend, remain likely to prick sensibilities so shall remain in the siding. Note, in the siding, not rumbling down a branch line. In the meantime, I will explore the meaning of "accredited" in my trusty Oxford Australian Dictionary.


February, 2006




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