Author Topic: Professionalism and GoIO - essay I wrote for a med school assignment  (Read 1460 times)

Offline Sli Fi

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Hey guys, I had to write an essay for something we call a "Showcase Portfolio" at my med school, and I chose to write it on GoIO. I figured I might as well get some more mileage out of it and post it for some people who actually play GoIO. Enjoy!



The values of professionalism are the same values that make a good team member. Compassion, respect, honesty, integrity, accountability, altruism, prudence, social justice, and commitment to excellence. These values apply in many different aspects of medicine. Beyond medicine, however, there are other unexpected and striking places where professionalism increases people's productivity and enjoyment. Though an unexpected parallel, I also found the values of professionalism to display themselves to their fullest extent in a multiplayer video game, Guns of Icarus Online (GoIO). The game helped me develop these skills and show me their ability to significantly improve teamwork early on in medical school, and I have not forgotten these skills to this day.

GoIO, put simply, is a game where four people collaborate to run an airship. I have taken a sample screenshot below. The pilot role parallels the role of an attending physician - generally the one with the most knowledge of all the different roles, with the responsibility of maneuvering the ship so each teammate can perform his or her role most effectively. The other team members are gunners and engineers. Like surgical staff who choose the most appropriate procedures and tools and where to direct them, gunners choose the best ammunition and where to direct the guns. Like medical staff who manage the recovery and preventive care of patients, engineers repair and optimize the machinery on the ship. Just as medical residents sometimes do procedures, engineers even fire the guns sometimes, as well. As you can see, the roles themselves show some similarity with the practice of medicine.

If this was where the parallels ended, however, this would not be a topic worth writing about. More important than the roles themselves is the communication and other values of professionalism that make a ship, and a medical team, run well. In the game as well as in medicine, the best communication is done with respectful discussion, person-to-person by voice. A compassionate, respectful pilot recognizes the day-to-day difficulties of each team member. While trying to balance the load on each team member, an ideal pilot also tells everyone where and how they will be needed in the future, and can sometimes help directly when things get out of hand.

A pilot is also accountable to each of the team members he is leading. This involves giving an honest assessment of the situation, as well as encouraging real-time feedback in case he assigns an impossible task. This requires the humility to adjust one's own plan to better fit the rest of the crew. An ideal pilot, just like an ideal attending physician, is sometimes wrong. Many times as a pilot in GoIO, I've admitted I've made a mistake to my crew and tried to do better in the future. This practice of owning my mistakes and continuous self-improvement will serve me well in the future not only in only cooperative games, but in real life as well.

As an engineer or gunner, the same communication is necessary. If a pilot is pushing the ship's engines too hard, it is my responsibility as an engineer to let him or her know. If a ship is moving out of the gun's shooting arc, it is similarly my responsibility as a gunner to tell the pilot. A prudent team member, however, knows that response may not be instant, and also that some problems are too small to bother the rest of the team with when things get hectic. Even if the other team members are not communicating ideally, I still try my hardest in the scope of my role.

As a resident in the future, I will continue to display these same traits that professionalism entails. Whether my role is medical management, a procedure, or even team leadership, I will uphold the respect, humility, and continuous self-improvement that both medical school and GoIO have helped me develop. Professionalism is a complex ideal to strive for, but it is an ideal that produces the best people in every field.