Thursday, June 02, 2011

Physician Professionalism: The Crucial Core Competency You Can't Teach

" As a former full-time faculty member, I regularly had to rate residents in six core competencies — six general categories of skills or assets needed for one to be considered a competent physician, one who could safely care for patients independently. I had often felt that the most crucial of them all, and the one that is the hardest, if not impossible, to teach is professionalism. Without it, all the others are moot.

One can learn the pathophysiology of a disease (medical knowledge), know the appropriate tests to order and the gold standard of therapy (patient care), learn it through actual patient interaction (practice-based learning), utilize the rest of the health team (systems-based practice), and be able to explain it to the patient and the rest of the health team (interpersonal and communication skills)."

Professionalism is closely tied to ethics; and either a doctor is ethical or not - something which is already a part of his core well before he joins medical college ! Sadly, it's not something which medical schools can teach.
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