Meaning Of Professionalism In Medicine

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A great deal of literature has been written about what "professionalism" means in the context of medicine. While there has been much debate, and some even argue that professionalism is in itself too vague and vast to be properly defined, there is one viewpoint in particular that resonates with me.1 When the white coat is placed upon our shoulders, society bestows a great deal of trust, privilege and responsibility upon us as physicians. In return, we engage in a social contract of sorts, a promise, to society, that we will self-regulate, cultivate, and uphold shared ethical standards and competencies that will ensure that we as physicians are worthy of this public trust.2 This abstract social contract is what I believe we mean by the notion …show more content…
I am not sure that it is possible to define a concrete set of universal values that would capture the vastness that is professionalism. However, an effort was placed forward by the Medical Professionalism Project, undertaken by the ABIM Foundation, the ACP-ASIM Foundation, and the European Federation of Internal Medicine, in 2002.3 This work is regarded as one of the more heavily cited and referenced works on professionalism to date and has been regarded by some as a “modern-day Hippocratic oath”.1 This project, known as the “Charter on Medical Professionalism”, proposed a set of professional obligations that physicians owe society as a part of the social contract that we partake …show more content…
Given all of our training in the science of epidemiology, it is not surprising that a public health-based approach was used to answer this question. If there are identifiable and measurable risk factors in medical students that can be used to predict later lapses in professionalism, then it is possible that an intervention can be made to prevent this future unprofessional behavior. A pioneering case-control study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2005 by Maxine Papadakis, that investigated the association between disciplinary actions against practicing physicians with prior instances of unprofessional behavior while in medical school.4 This study found that physicians who were subject to disciplinary action in there fields were more likely to have had prior instances of unprofessional behavior while in medical school than control physicians (OR = 3). 4 They noticed that the types of prior unprofessional behavior that were most associated with future disciplinary action were irresponsibility and a diminished capacity for self-improvement. 4 Additionally, the severity and frequency of the previous unprofessional behavior was also correlated with future disciplinary action.4 This study suggested that vigilance in assessment of professional behavior

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