More than a list of values and desired behaviors: A foundational understanding of medical professionalism.

Wynia, M.K., Papadakis, M.A., Sullivan, W.M., Hafferty, F.W.
Submitted: May, 2014

While making lists of desirable professional characteristics is necessary and useful for teaching and assessment, it is not, by itself, sufficient either to fully define professionalism or to capture its social functions. Extends earlier work by authors to articulate a definition that explains professionalism as the motivating force for an occupational group to come together and create, publicly profess, and develop reliable mechanisms to enforce shared promises-all with the purpose of ensuring that practitioners are worthy of patients’ and the public’s trust. Using this framework, the authors argue that medical professionalism is a normative belief system about how best to organize and deliver health care. Believing in professionalism means accepting the premise that health professionals must come together to continually define, debate, declare, distribute, and enforce the shared competency standards and ethical values that govern their work. Three key implications of this new definition for individual clinicians and their professional organizations are outlined.

Resource Type:
  • Issue Briefs/Reports
Study Design:
  • Review
  • Definitions & Frameworks