As a petty officer you will be held responsi- ble for your personal debts and financial dealings. Always obey the following cardinal rules:
1. Never have any financial dealings with pa- tients or those under you.
2. Violating this cardinal rule will always lead to trouble and embarrassment for you and your command.
3. Always pay your bills on time. Letters of indebtedness have ruined many a service career, often many years after the debts were incurred.
Live within your means and, except under extreme emergencies, do not borrow money that you can not pay back without upsetting your budget.
Good personal habits, cleanliness, neat hair- cuts, and spotless, correct uniforms are absolute musts in the Hospital Corps. Ours is a profession in which we meet the public constantly, and the medical public always seems to be more critical of appearance. The personal appearance and atti- tude of the staff does much to enhance the overall reputation of the Navy Medical Department and reinforces our role as health care teachers.
Nowhere in the Navy is the need for personal integrity so great as in the Hospital Corps where we are continually dealing with people, their troubles, illnesses, and personal problems. This knowledge falls into the category of privileged communication. We, as hospital corpsmen, have no right whatsoever to divulge any medical infor- mation, however trivial, to any unauthorized in- dividuals. Medical information is prime gossip material. This is sometimes difficult to remember but should remain an absolute must for profes- sional integrity.
Integrity also encompasses adherence to commitments, commonly referred to as keeping ones promise. Whatever the commitment, whatever the price, your word is your bonduntil broken.
One important commitment that all corps personnel have is the obligation to never abuse or to tolerate the abuse by others of the controlled medical substances that we have access to. These medications are on the ward or in the mount-out block for use, under a medical officers supervi- sion, in the care and rehabilitation of patients. Any other use must not be tolerated.
Naval leadership is based on personal exam- ple, good management, and moral responsibility. All of the personal traits previously discussed are also leadership traits. Success of the Medical Department rests heavily on the petty officer. Good petty officers are the backbone of the Navy whether they are supervising military or specialist duties. Many examples of effective leadership you learn may be by the examples set by officers and senior petty officer. The best way to learn effec- tive leadership is by practicing it.
Many of the rewards of Navy life are earned though the advancement system. Some of these rewards are easy to see. You receive more pay, job assignments become more interesting and more challenging, and you are regarded with greater respect by officers and enlisted personnel. Also, you enjoy the satisfaction of getting ahead in your chosen Navy career.
However, the advantages are not yours alone. The Navy also profits. Highly trained personnel are essential to the mission of the Navy. Each time you are advanced, your value to the Navy in- creases two ways. First, you become more valuable as a specialist in your rating; and second, you become more valuable as a person who can train others. Thus you make far-reaching con- tributions to the entire Navy.
The NORMAL system of advancement may be easier to understand if it is divided into two parts:
1. Those requirements that must be met for you to be qualified; that is, to be con- sidered for advancement.
2. Those factors that actually determine whether or not you will be advanced.
In order to qualify (be considered) for ad- vancement, you must fulfill certain requirements.