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Top ten tips for professionalism

Post date: 06/06/2014 | Time to read article: 1 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 18/05/2020


1. Probity:

Honesty and integrity are central to probity and define how any professional person should act. This is vital in healthcare as the doctor-patient relationship is balanced on trust.

2. Expertise:

Doctors are expected to have a particular set of skills in their chosen field, at a level that can be considered expert. The validity of this expertise is maintained by ongoing training throughout the course of a medical career.

3. Respect:

You should aim to be courteous and should respect the rights, dignity and autonomy of those who consult you in a professional capacity.

4. Responsibility and reliability:

A professional person should honour commitments and ensure that tasks and duties are completed and addressed, by taking the initiative and leading by example. In medicine, a lack of immediate attention to your duties can be the difference between life and death.

5. Respectability:

There are expectations that a professional will work and behave in a manner that is appropriate to the nature of their particular profession. In medicine, these expectations are unique: good standards of personal appearance and dress, appropriate standards of speech and personal conduct – such attributes will confirm to a patient an acceptable standard of respectability.

6. Standards:

A professional person is expected to have the ability and dedication to achieving a set of standards in their duties that their peers find acceptable.

7. Conduct:

The GMC has clear expectations of the correct behaviour and conduct of a medical professional. You should ensure that your actions are appropriate and proper:

8. Social responsibility:

The caring nature of the profession means that a healthcare professional must possess a strong sense of empathy; a desire to do good – and this can be broadly described as having a social responsibility.

9. Ethics:

Professionals such as doctors must adhere to a strict code of ethics. It is necessary to first separate the law on the one hand, and ethics on the other, in order to grasp the essential nature of professional ethics. 

10. Openness when things go wrong:

Doctors have a professional and ethical obligation to be open and honest when things go wrong.

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