Ever since I can remember, I have always associated the characteristic of professionalism with a practicing physician. To me, professionalism exemplifies the relationship between medicine and society, forming the basis of patient-physician trust. I think we can all agree that professional etiquette is a key component to a successful career in medicine.
During my first day of medical school, the entire class was reminded that from this day forward, we were to maintain professionalism in all situations, and I couldn’t agree more. Professionalism in medicine encompasses attitude, skills, values, attributes, morality, altruistic service, transparency, and accountability.
At this point, not only did we represent ourselves, but we also represent our school. When I wear my white coat, I’m reminded that I will one day be considered a healer. I will be a face that patients look to for competence, confidentiality, altruism, integrity, and honesty. Society has given us the notable privilege of being considered a professional. Shouldn’t we show our appreciation for our good fortune by maintaining professionalism?
I realize that medicine is changing faster than ever, but some things should never change—professionalism being one of them. As future doctors of medicine, I think we should strive for professionalism daily because it is the cornerstone of our relationships with patients, each other, health care providers, and our society.
I’ll leave you with a little inspiration: “Professional is not a label you give yourself; it’s a description you hope others will apply to you.” – David Maister