Viewpoint: professionalism and humanism beyond the academic health center.Acad Med. 2007 Nov; 82(11):1022-8.AM
Medical professionalism and humanism have long been integral to the practice of medicine, and they will continue to shape practice in the 21st century. In recent years, many advances have been made in understanding the nature of medical professionalism and in efforts to teach and assess professional values and behaviors. As more and more teaching of both medical students and residents occurs in settings outside of academic medical centers, it is critically important that community physicians demonstrate behaviors that resonate professionalism and humanism. As teachers, they must be committed to being role models for what physicians should be. Activities that are designed to promote and advance professionalism, then, must take place not only in academic settings but also in clinical practice sites that are beyond the academic health center. The author argues that professionalism and humanism share common values and that each can enrich the other. Because the cauldron of practice threatens to erode traditional values of professionalism, not only for individual physicians but also for the medical profession, practicing physicians must incorporate into practice settings activities that are explicitly designed to exemplify those values, not only with students and patients, but also within their communities. The author cites a number of examples of ways in which professionalism and humanism can be fostered by individual physicians as well as professional organizations.