The medical profession: How similar are doctors to IT engineers?

I had to visit my doctor today, I had injured my shoulder and there were complications that involved the visit.

The doctor asked me if I had lost consciousness during my fall and proceeded to arrange a series of tests, including blood pressure monitoring, an ECG, blood tests, x-rays and a course of physiotherapy.

I did not find it easy to describe my symptoms, and it reminded me of a site visit I did where I asked the customer what the problem was. He replied in a flash, “You’re the computer guy, you should be telling me!”

The doctor had a similar experience to relate, apparently it is not unusual for a patient to say, “You’re the doctor, you tell me!” when asked what the problem is.

It seems that both professions go about their work in a similar manner.

Personally, I think the doc has the easier end of the deal.

He asks where the pain is and the patient tells him. I talk to PCs all the time and they remain obstinately mute. Indeed, if I am caught talking to the boxes, people start to ask me where the pain is.

Doctors have their diagnostic tools and so do we. They use stethoscopes, we use event logs.

They use thermometers and sphygmomanometers; we use screwdrivers, key disks, and readme files.

The thing we have in common is that we asses the symptoms, make a diagnosis, and prepare a plan of treatment.

When we work methodically and stick to a plan we get the results.

When troubleshooting we need to follow the process that the doctor follows: observe, question, examine.

When we have formed an opinion of the nature of the fault or medical condition we test, then we fix and test again.

I suppose what I am trying to say is this: If we take ourselves seriously as a profession and follow a professional method of working, we could perhaps one day be treated as professionals.