chapter  2
26 Pages

Professional Culture

One of the defining attributes of a profession is that its members have special expertise: they can perform actions or deliver services that the lay person cannot (Hughes, 1958). Selectivity and competition are also defining characteristics of professions; far more apply than are accepted. The process of acquiring such expertise usually requires the novice to undergo lengthy, demanding training. Military and airline pilots undergo rigorous training, often with substantial attrition. Similarly, doctors face a lengthy training process that begins with medical school and internship and, in the case of specialties such as surgery and anesthesia, also includes a lengthy and demanding residency.