Professionalism: good for patients and health care organizations.Mayo Clin Proc. 2014 May; 89(5):644-52.MC
Professionalism is an indispensable element in the compact between the medical profession and society that is based on trust and putting the needs of patients above all other considerations. The resurgence of interest in professionalism dates back to the 1980s when health maintenance organizations were formed and proprietary influences in health care increased. Since then, a rich and comprehensive literature has emerged in defining professionalism, including desirable individual attributes and behaviors and how they may be taught, promoted, and assessed. More recently, scholarship has shifted from individual to organizational professionalism. This literature addresses the role that health care organizations can play to establish environments that are conducive to the consistent expression of professionalism by individuals and health care teams. We reviewed interdisciplinary empirical studies from health care effectiveness and outcomes, organizational sciences, positive psychology, and social psychology, finding evidence that organizational and individual professionalism is associated with a wide range of benefits to patients and the organization. We identify actionable organizational strategies and approaches that, if adopted, can foster and promote combined organizational and individual professionalism. In doing so, trust in the medical profession and its institutions can be enhanced, which in turn will reconfirm a commitment to the social compact.