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Employee Success - Education or experience?

May 17, 2017

I am a huge advocate for education and the continuous search for knowledge. It seems I have had more initials behind my name than the alphabet has letters. The product certifications I have earned would take a close second in number. However, I was reminded recently that education is not the only gauge of a person’s success in their career.

We strive to keep every employee up to date on the products and technology tools available. Knowing what options are available and applying that intel when designing a solution is very important. Preparing our employees for success is a key element in both employee and customer satisfaction.

However, other qualities and skills are also necessary to ensure the correct application of knowledge. In addition, an accumulation of experience can prepare a person for equal or greater success than education alone.

Recently, I went to the doctor for a diagnosis. My doctor was not available so I went to the urgent care doctor on rotation. The doctor was young, but she had fulfilled all the requirements to achieve her professional credentials. She listened to my symptoms but asked few questions and seemed in a hurry. I had previously been diagnosed with a malady with similar traits and she determined we needed to alter the medication. I objected as the symptoms were noticeably different from what I had experienced before. The dorctor's advice was to treat the symptoms of the prior diagnosis and see what happened.

A few days later, I was still in pain and desperate to find a solution. We tried my wife’s clinic where her doctor was unavailable, so we were interviewed by her Physician’s Assistant. Neither of us was thrilled, this person was clearly not as qualified as evidence by her title. However, I was willing to work with the PA hoping she would ultimately get the doctor involved. To my surprise, the PA was very thorough in her questioning and in her listening skills. I described the symptoms and why they did not fit my prior diagnosis. To my surprise, she listened intently and echoed my concerns. She concluded we needed to have alternate tests run to locate the culprit.

I went the next day for the tests and headed back to the office. Surprisingly, the levels of pain had decreased and I was feeling somewhat better. Before I could drive three or four miles from the clinic the PA called me with the results and stated, “I would like for you to go to the emergency room now.” I grumbled a bit, and asked if we could schedule something for the next day so I could wrap up a few things in the office and that I was feeling a bit better.

Her next words and the pleading in her voice got my attention. “You really need to be admitted, you will be alright if we can begin treatments now.” I spent the next six days in the hospital fighting an infection. All is well now but it was a serious battle.

My observation was twofold; the first doctor had done everything she needed to accomplish being designated as a medical professional capable of treating her patients. However, the PA, with less education determined a course of action with the desired results.

I have learned a valuable lesson; education is great, but you can be just as successful (if not more so) by having the right experience coupled with proper skills.

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