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Professional Provider Vs. Volunteer Provider Essay

1076 words - 4 pages

The hippie movement of the late 1960s provided mainstream society with quite a scare. Many individuals in positions related to health care foresaw the negative outcomes large groups of people with low levels hygiene, carefree attitudes, and high rates of drug use would have when they congregated in one place. With an influx of hippies, many cities decided to set up free clinics, two of which are well documented; one in an article from the Journal of American Medical Association written by Harry Wilmer and the other an article from the Scandinavian Journal of Social Medicine written by Charles Smiley. The effectiveness of these clinics was governed primarily by who the providers were. In one case (1967, Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Institute, San Francisco) the providers were well trained physicians and in another (1973, Free Clinic, Sudbury, Northern Ontario) they were volunteers who underwent and a supervised, informal training period prior to patient contact. Contrary to logical thinking, the patients of the volunteer providers often had better outcomes than those undergoing treatment by trained physicians. However, when more deeply analyzed, the situation makes sense. Individuals with generalized misgivings towards authority, intellectualism, and mainstream are much more likely to assimilate to providers who are not “trained to act with authority, to write and give orders, to work at the peak of a power hierarchy” as doctors are (Wilmer 1272). An important lesson one should take from this comparison is due to conventional legislation it is nearly impossible for a volunteer without proper medical/psychiatric training to involve themselves in patient treatment. Should there be a present day, vast movement similar to the hippies in the 1960’s requiring the aid of volunteers, legally they cannot help.
The basis of many hippies drive is rooted in a desire to express themselves in unconventional ways conflicting with the social norms pressed upon them by mainstream America. According to John Howard, Author of The Flowering of the Hippie Movement there are two types of deviance from society: vertical and lateral. Vertical deviance is defined as “when persons in a subordinate rank attempt to enjoy the privileges and prerogatives of those in a superior rank” such as “. . . . the ten year old who sneaks behind the garage to smoke” (Howard 52). On the other hand, lateral deviance is defined as “when persons in a subordinate rank develop their own standards and norms apart from and opposed to those of persons in a superior rank” such as “. . . . the teen-ager who smokes pot rather than tobacco” (Howard 52). Both types of deviance become evident when the characteristics of hippies are identified.
The mere mention of “hippie”, “counterculture”, and even “the 60s” immediately conjures up images of nostalgic, young adults or teens wearing tie-dye while listening to psychedelic rock and using illicit drugs. Individuals acting in this manner flocked...

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