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“Advanced Professionalism”: A View Standing On Others’ Shoulders

Posted on | January 13, 2010 | No Comments

by Mike Magee MD

As I mentioned last week, I’ve been in the early stages of a purposefully disruptive project titled “Advanced Professionalism”, which involves reviewing a decade of Medical Education literature on the topic with an eye toward challenging traditional thinking. All sources this week pointed to the seminal work of Dr. Thomas S. Inui, “A Flag In The Wind: Educating For Professionalism In Medicine”.  As a Petersdorf Scholar-in-Residence at the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) in 2002, Dr. Inui opened his mind and heart to try to understand whether and how professionalism could be taught to medical students and residents.(1)

At one point he reflects on the varied definitions or lists of characteristics that had been compiled by multiple organizations and experts, and then comments:

“From my own perspective, I have no reservations about accepting any, or all of the foregoing articulations of various qualities, attitudes, and activities of the physician as legitimate representations of important attributes for the trustworthy professional. In fact, I find it difficult to choose one list over others, since they each in turn seem to refer largely to the same general set of admirable qualities. While we in medicine might see these as our lists of the desirable attributes of professionalism in the physician, as the father of an Eagle Scout I know that Boy Scout leaders use a very similar list to describe the important qualities of scouts:  (TO CONTINUE…)

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