Thursday, November 12, 2009

Professional Development....

Darth Tater writes;

The first step toward respect for our profession is not union organization. You're not satisfied being a professional pilot so you want to be more like a teamster? If being a professional pilot doesn't get you a table at the Ritz, what's a union card going to do for you? The path to success is through exertion, not extortion. Compulsory unionization would kill our industry.

I reply;

Darth, I get the idea that you and I disagree on union-organizing of pilots employed by companies. Thats fine by me. I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and if yours is different than mine, that doesn't make me smarter or dumber than you. We simply see things differently.

In this regard though, I am not referring to labor-union organization. Here is what I wrote:

I submit that the first steps toward a respected profession as helicopter pilots will be organization followed by legitimate barriers to entry into the profession; such as higher educational and experience levels.

Again, I see similarities between where our profession is today and where medicine was a hundred or so years ago. They had "medical schools" popping up everywhere willy-nilly. Some were two year, some three, some four. Curriculums varied widely. Competing philosophies fought for a place such as Naturopathy and Osteopathy (They squashed the Nats and swallowed the Osteos). It was chaos and no one was making any money. More importantly to society though - the profession wasn't living up to it's potential.

Physicians organized. State Medical Societies begot the American Medical Association, and the AMA et.al. got government to change and enforce the rules.

We could do this. I am not a member of the PHPA, yet, but that may be the avenue forward.

First we have to join forces through a professional association, then we have to decide on standards, then we have to get those standards enforced. This for the good of the profession - not the good of my wallet. It probably won't happen any time soon; as the obstacles are many.

When efforts were underway to organize physicians, it was discovered that there were three segments in the population.

First, there were those who had lucrative careers and didn't see any need for change. They didn't care to improve other's lots, and create competition for themselves.
Second, there were those who were quacks, and didn't want to elevate the work above what they could understand.
Finally, there was the third group who pushed for higher standards and were willing to work harder to live up to them.

It's like that with us. I believe our standards are set too low. I believe the wrong people are setting the standards, and I believe that the people who lose - in the long run - are the people we serve.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Helicopter EMS Pilots Could Make Big Money

If we would respect our profession

Author: rotorflex Date: 11/11/2009 1:32:06 PM Show Orig. Msg (this window) Or In New Window
It would respect us back.

In OAH's post, he correlates medicine to aviation. It wasn't so long ago that medicine was held in pretty low esteem by the average person. The medical profession pulled itself up by it's bootstraps; and while they seem to be self-destructing now, physicians have had a great run.

Does it not strike anyone as ironic that the supposed experts on air medical transport are physicians? Their purview should cover patient care -period. Somehow they now weigh in on all aspects of a profession they know little about.

Airline pilots enjoyed a similar prestige for a few decades, but they were not able to enjoy the benefits of a "legitmate complexity" (Paul Starr's words), and could not create barriers to entry for their profession the way that physicians could. So now you can be an airline pilot with 200 hours and make $16,0000 a year. And for that you pay and strive for a long time. The conditions that lead to poor morale and poor performance within the ranks of airline pilots aren't created by them, but they take the blame for every misstep.

The physician"s "time in the sun" is coming to an end. Have you noticed the direct-to-consumer drug ads (which were not allowed by medical groups for many years) now advise you to consult "your prescriber" about said drugs; no longer do they say "your physician". Inroads are being made into the medical profession, and someday you may see a health care "professional" at your local Wal-Mart who makes $16,000 a year and gives you prescriptions for what ails you.

Flying a helicopter is a complex activity, requiring significant preparation, education, and practice. We have only ourselves to blame for the fact that we enjoy so little wealth and prestige for what we do.

It has been said that the first steps toward nationhood are a common language followed by a common currency. I submit that the first steps toward a respected profession as helicopter pilots will be organization followed by legitimate barriers to entry into the profession; such as higher educational and experience levels.

To borrow a phrase from the medical profession; "no one should come between a helicopter pilot and his passengers"