Professionalism and psychiatry: past, present, future.Australas Psychiatry. 2009; 17(5):357-9.AP
Professionalism is a core component of being a good psychiatrist. In spite of repeated attacks on psychiatry as a profession, the knowledge and skills required to be a professional have increased. Setting standards and having autonomy and self regulation are crucial aspects of professionalism. The attacks on the medical profession have been related to a perception that the profession is inward looking. With changes in the knowledge base and ease of access to information, the relationship between the patient and the clinician needs to be revisited.
The basic principles of professionalism rely on primacy of patient welfare and patient autonomy. Social justice and a just distribution of finite resources and professional responsibilities need to be redefined. Psychiatry's implicit contract with society needs to be renegotiated for the 21st century.