Seeking certainty guides us in so many aspects of our lives, personally and professionally. The world can be a confusing place, and to help us stay safe and achieve the things we want we will be guided by those things which are certain.
Through childhood we develop an understanding of our certainties, and we begin to extrapolate these things and create our own world view, and we constantly seek new certainties to help us make the best decisions we can. In a world where there was a few TV channels and kids programmes were allocated the same time slot we were forced to make a choice, Tom and Jerry on BBC or a new cartoon on ITV. Tom and Jerry would deliver certainty, and reap the rewards of the large viewing audience.
Professionally we seek certainty, as we embarked upon our training as podiatrists we wanted answers, the definitive list of diagnosis, the best treatment, and the prognosis. We needed an answer with some certainty, and then we suffered the pain of learning that certainties are just not available, and are limited to the fact that what we know will always change. We become more comfortable over time with accepting that certainty isn’t on offer, and instead look to minimise risk. We follow the patterns of others, trust reputations and protect ourselves against the unseen events with insurances and the like so that we can make our future as certain as possible.
The value of what we do lies in our ability to create certainty for our patients. A certainty in our approach, our commitment to continuous learning, and the delivery of a service in the most professional manner with their benefit at the core of what we do. The irony of us doing this is that we must be the ones who take the risk, the pursuit of learning with no guaranteed new knowledge, the investment in practice with no financial return guaranteed and the labour of continuously improving our practice without guarantee of recognition. Without embracing these risks our profession will suffer, and that is a certainty.