One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest Professionalism English Literature Essay Free Essay


Professionalism is defined as “ the competency or accomplishment expected of a professional ” 1 and “ the practising of an activity by professionals instead than amateurs ” .1 Marilyn Peterson speaks of boundaries as “ the bounds that allow a safe connexion based on the client ‘s demands. “ 2 In One Flew Over the Cuckoo ‘s Nest and Patch Adams, I would be researching the effects of boundaries when they are exploited by the professional which can do terrible reverberations to both parties.

The Professional

“ The professional provides a service based on a particular relationship with those whom he or she serves. This relationship involves a particular attitude of beneficence tempered with unity. “ 3

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There are two types of professionals in One Flew Over the Cuckoo ‘s Nest and in Patch Adams. These characters take the function of either functionary or unofficial professionals. In the former movie, the of import official professional is Nurse Ratched, whereas in the 2nd film these are the head-shrinker and the Dean. These characters are presented in the movies as the ‘villains ‘ as they exploit their power for their ain personal satisfaction instead than to assist their patients. The unofficial ‘professional ‘ in One Flew Over The Cuckoo ‘s Nest is Randle Patrick McMurphy whilst in Patch Adams, these are Hunter Patch Adams and some of his co-workers. Although McMurphy is merely a patient in the refuge, through his boundless energy, he instils some life to some of his fellow inmates and indirectly helps one of them break free from the unseeable ironss of the refuge – their prison. Adams on the other manus, is non a unsafe individual. He discovers that assisting other people gives him personal fulfillment and joy in life – “ By assisting them, I forget my ain jobs ” .4

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo ‘s Nest, Nurse Ratched is portrayed as a powerful animal who stifles her patients from sing life by tyrannizing over them. Her method of professionalism is to follow by-the-book to a mistake manner. She allows no 1 to take this authorization from her as she has the right to make so as she is a alleged ‘professional ‘ . However, she does more injury than good. Her methods of commanding her patients include a mind-numbing modus operandi which is followed sacredly every individual twenty-four hours ; the group therapy Sessionss, which are intentionally done to corrupt the patients ; and her docket to turn them against each other. Although from a distance she may look that she respects their sentiment, when McMurphy asks her if they can watch the baseball lucifer, she refutes the thought and attempts to pull strings her usage of linguistic communication in order to accommodate her. Even through the manner she speaks, which command position and self-determinism, her patients are given no voice with which to show themselves. Her lone concern is to continue an aura of professionalism ; of self-respect and regard. Everyone in the mental infirmary either hates her of frights her – this includes the patients, staff and physician. It is merely through panic that they comply with her. She has the power to maintain McMurphy committed to the refuge for an indefinite period of clip, even though she is cognizant that he is non mentally ill.

The fearless McMurphy on the other manus is cagey and rebellious. He instantly places himself as a leader at the refuge and therefore creates conflict with Nurse Ratched. He takes a function of a professional in assorted ways. He tries learning the Chief Bromden hoops ; he distracts his fellow patients from contending by throwing H2O at them ; he takes them out on a boat trip ; and demands that patients be given rights. Nevertheless one should add that this is for the most portion, done for selfish intents. A individual word carries value and power which can easy be abused, as could be seen when he lied to the boat proprietors that he and his fellow inmates were professionals. This can be paralleled to the slack manner Nurse Ratched performs her responsibilities towards her patients. Through McMurphy ‘s influence, the Chief flights from the refuge as he decides that it would be better to confront the universe, than to stay in an environment where power was abused and where 1 ‘s life was at interest.

The caput of the psychiatric ward, Dr Prack in Patch Adams plays a important, though short function. When Hunter Patch Adams was a patient at the refuge, he noticed that Dr Prack was non truly listening and understanding him, but inquiring a fixed set of inquiries. The usage of non verbal communicating such as oculus contact, was sparse which impedes with the demands of the patient. This leads Adams to oppugn the value of the psychiatrics methods as he becomes witting of its injury on the patients, who were remaining longer as their jobs remained unsolved. A fellow patient inspires him to take a new position into seeing things and to non be afraid, lazy or conform. At the University, Adams is taught by Dean Walcott, a adult male who strives for power and who has rigid fixed thoughts of how a professional should and should non move.

“ Professional moralss can besides be dynamic, and generative of contexts in which the challenges posed by scientific discipline, economic sciences, altering societal values and so on are debated ” .5 Adams ‘s attack to the term ‘professional ‘ was unconventional at that clip. He devalues the efficaciousness of books and the methods which have been used throughout the centuries. This causes clash with the Dean. Adams ‘s methods exert a positive influence over the patients as they need less medicine, etc through his wild imaginativeness, easy-going attitude, and temper to link with the patient and run into their demands. However Adams ‘s cheating could do a great struggle with his profession as a Doctor. This is because this profession entails a important duty to cognize what one is making as it deals with life and decease state of affairss. His room-mate said that he would instead be a ‘prick ‘ and learn all there is to cognize so he would be able to salvage a individual ‘s life instead than do him laugh.

“ A professional should hold legitimised authorization. “ 3 This contradicts Adams ‘s usage of rehearsing medicine alongside with his undergraduate co-workers who ran a clinic without a license. One of his slogan is to “ better quality of life, non merely detain decease ” .4 He does this efficaciously by seeking to lighten up his patients ‘ life. Adams redefines the term ‘Doctor ‘ . To him it means a sure and learned friend and that is what he seeks to accomplish with his patients. His place clinic, which he runs for free, is a topographic point where the patients become physicians to other patients. This reciprocation creates a harmonious and mutualist scene. Despite losing Carin, he comes to a greater apprehension and realisation of how much being a physician means to him, “ I wanted to go a physician so I could function others. And because of that, I ‘ve lost everything. But I ‘ve besides gained everything. “ 4

Harmonizing to David Morrell, professional values consist of “ assurance, confidentiality, competency, contract, community duty and committedness. “ 3 This can be clearly seen in Adams but non rather so in Nurse Ratched.


“ Professional boundaries are of import because they define the bounds and duties of the people with whom you interact in the workplace ” .6

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This image illustrates, “ a zone of helpfulness is in the Centre of the professional behavior continuum. “ 7 This ensures that the bulk of client interactions should be effectual and safe to the patients. The two extremes: over-involvement and under-involvement should be avoided. Over-involvement includes boundary crossings, and misdemeanors. Under-involvement includes distancing, neutrality and disregard which can do negative results to the client and the nurse. There is a gradual passage with no definite lines dividing the zone of helpfulness from the terminals of the continuum.

In One Flew Over the Cuckoo ‘s Nest, Nurse Ratched ‘s character is portrayed as under-involved. She can be likened to a automaton and seems to show some psychopathologic traits – insensitiveness, emotionless and detachedness to her patients ‘ demands. Because of her deficiency of empathy and understanding, the patients “ may experience betrayed, abandoned, and/or ill served ” .8 This is damaging to her patients as she does non concentrate on them to go functional in society and therefore, their stay is either drawn-out or their status worsened. She talks to her patients as if they were kids and encourages them to be dependent on her instead than independent, which is a misdemeanor to the ethical codifications. She is at that place for them merely on an external degree – to make her work but non on an emotional degree, and therefore her patients ‘ demands are non met. One can reason that her satisfaction in being in power – which interferes with the manner she interacts with her patients – causes McMurphy ‘s leukotomy and decease, Bill ‘s decease and her narrow flight from being strangled.

Although McMurphy is a patient, his crossing over boundaries causes effects to other characters every bit good as to himself. McMurphy is non truly psychologically ill, instead a unsafe individual. McMurphy ‘s deficiency of regard and respect to authorization induces him to traverse over boundaries with Nurse Ratched. He challenges her when he calls on ballots on ward policy, disrespects her, and about choking coils her to decease. Because of the strong boundaries in this scene, which clashes with his rebellious character, he indirectly causes his ain decease.

“ It is a general misconception that holding good boundaries will distance you from others. “ 6 The physicians and the Dean in Patch Adams value prestigiousness and are insensitive to the patients demands. They refer to their patients by their figure, unlike Adams, who calls them by their name. The Dean wants to be seen as a individual of esteem – with criterions and codifications, and is concerned with professional distance. He is invariably stating his pupils to avoid transference. “ Our occupation is to strictly and ruthlessly develop the humanity out of you… do physicians out of you. “ 4 His position of how he sees his profession is to a great extent contrasted with Adams ‘s, whose purpose is to cut down all boundaries to an equal degree as the patients and nurses. Adams position of the hierarchal system is far more lurid in his eyes than decease, “ Death is non the enemy gentlemen. If we ‘re traveling to contend a disease, allow ‘s fight one of the most awful diseases of all, indifference ” .4

Adams ‘s deficiency of boundaries are sometimes dearly-won. He defies regulations, and may come across as chesty and impolite. He besides uses disrespectful and violative linguistic communication with the Dean. The sarcasm of the narrative is that his desire to make out in individual to the patients, by non being detached and nonsubjective, costs his friend Carin to be murdered. After being inspired by him, she loosens the boundaries by sing a badly mentally disturbed individual who “ asks/expects service supplier to socialise with him/her exterior of professional scene ” 8 and “ supply aid to client outside of his/her function ” .8 The film ends with Adams ‘s graduation, who is have oning a gown with no ‘back ‘ to mean his continuity non to conform.

The two major differentiations about these two characters in One Flew Over the Cuckoo ‘s Nest and Patch Adams, is that in the former film, Nurse Ratched, an anagram for wretched, intending suffering, causes negative influence over her patients. In the latter movie, Adams, who was told off for being excessively happy, creates a positive temper on the patients. This individual difference makes all the difference.


What I find striking about Adams ‘s character in Patch Adams, is his dogged self-government, creativeness and bent to make out for people and buoy up up their life. Being excessively detached carries a grave duty over the patients who will merely do worse in such an environment so much so that it can be them their life as is shown in One Flew Over the Cuckoo ‘s Nest. It is ever better to avoid all sorts of appendages and personally, I think that one should seek to integrate a balance at work and in one ‘s twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours life to maintain disagreement at bay.

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