On Thursday 29 August 2002 10:27, Mary-Henline wrote:
> The two colors on the baldric--white and gold. Shall I assume that when
> you are accepted (such as a Marshal is accepted to train under an acting
> Marshal) as an apprentice-Chirurgeon, you receive the white, and when you
> pass your training, you then receive gold?
Not quite. Apprentices in the Middle Kingdom can wear only a belt favor,
not a baldric, and it must have only the badge with *no* stripes. When you
complete your training, you get warranted as a Journeyman and can wear the
favor or the baldric (your choice) with white or silver stripes. In some
other kingdoms, Apprentices can wear a baldric with no stripes, but not in
the Midrealm (as far as I am aware).
Master Chirurgeons are technically made by the Kingdom Chirurgeon, but usually
this is done upon recommendation of the existing Master Chirurgeons, often at
a meeting held at Pennsic. Master Chirurgeon isn't an award in the usual sense,
nor is it a rank or title. The MCs can't, for example, order around Journeymen.
Our chain of command is driven purely by who is doing what job at any given
moment in time, not by the color of the stripes.
For example, back in 1998 I was working as Crew Chief at Pennsic. That meant
that, for a four hour period, I was in charge of the patient treatment at
Chirurgeon's Point. The War Chirurgeon and her deputies were above me in the
chain of command, but they weren't actually running the Point itself. The
military analogy is that Chi Pt was a ship, and I was at that time the Captain
of the ship. The War Chirurgeon's staff were Admirals...they might outrank
me, but they didn't override me on specific actions within my area of charge
unless there was a darned good reason.
Anyway, during that particular shift, I had a disagreement with a gold-stripe
(Master) Chirurgeon who was previously unknown to me. I was still a Journeyman
at that time, but I was Crew Chief. After discussing the situation, I finally
said, "My lord, I don't know who you are, but I respect your opinion. If you
really feel strongly about this, we can meet after my shift ends and discuss
it together with the War Chirurgeon. But right now, I am the Crew Chief and
you are not. Two people with whom I have worked for several years have given
me advice that this is the right course of action, and I am standing by that
decision and will not second-guess them. I'm sorry to disagree with you, but
my decision stands."
The Master Chirurgeon nodded, and said, "Okay, I understand." He was very
polite and courteous about it, and that was the end of the situation, or so
The next day I found out who that person was. He was Brocc, and at that point
in time he was the Society Chirurgeon General! Such is the way our chain of
command works -- Brocc was three or four levels up from me in the chain of
command, but at that point in time I was in charge of the immediate situation.
Brocc, a very competent and professional Chirurgeon, had the wisdom and grace
to acknowledge this. By the way, Brocc and I later chatted informally about
the situation, came to a mutual understanding, and remain friends to this
day. It's a wonderful feeling to be able to disagree with someone and yet
still have respect for their expertise and viewpoint.
If you want to know how someone becomes a Master Chirurgeon, the answer is
this: When the proverbial fecal matter hits the proverbial air circulation
unit, and gunk is spraying everywhere, there is usually one person in the
room to whom everyone turns and says, "So what do we do now?!" If you are
often that person, you are a Master Chirurgeon.
(The unofficial answer is that gold stripes on a baldric are less offensive
and odious than a big red bullseye on the tunic with a sign that says, "Throw
all the really bad sh*t here.")
Brocc's ability to put aside his personal feelings, and to respect the chain
of command without taking things personally, is one of the qualities that in
my mind marks him as being worthy of the gold stripes he wears. If I ever
become Society Chirurgeon General, I hope that I will have the grace and
courtesy to behave as he did that day.
So Master Chirurgeons are basically being identified for experience and
leadership capabilities, together with competence in patient care. The idea
is so that, in a crisis, Journeymen and Apprentices can quickly identify
someone who is likely to be able to help guide them through the problem.
> Someday, I plan to wear one of those baldrics! Perhaps when I can breathe
> enough to GIVE first aid? Lol. Too hectic a life, lol.
I'd welcome the chance to work with you. "Doctor Mom" often turns into a very
fine Chirurgeon, because mothers (and fathers, but of course you don't have
the right plumbing for that!) have excellent instincts about working with
sick or injured kids, and parents in general tend to be caring people who
have enough life experience to have acquired a clue and some calmness and
Maistor Justinos Tekton called Justin (Scott Courtney)
Deputy War Chirurgeon -- Pennsic XXXII
PGP Public Key at http://4th.com/keys/justin.pubkey