What is Professionalism?

The FoMD is committed to creating a positive environment and community that supports education, research, and clinical care.

People often find it challenging to define professionalism. (Bryden et al. Acad Med. 2010; .Cornwall R.. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2001; Cruess RL. Clin Orthop Relat Res. 2006; Preez RR et al. Med Teach. 2007; Swick HM et al. JAMA. 1999). We usually list a series of ideal traits that we aspire to emulate when being professional. Professionalism depends on a person’s expectations of themselves, others’ expectations of them (ie: colleagues, supervisors, patients, public), institutional expectations, professional organizational expectations and societal expectations. Professionalism conflictst can arise when expectations and assumptions of behaviour differ during an interaction and/or situation.

FoMD Definition of Professionalism (Nov 2020)

Professionalism is the behavior by which we demonstrate that we are worthy of the trust bestowed upon us by the public, because we are working for the public good (Swick 2000). Professionalism is demonstrated by a series of behaviors and attitudes expected of FoMD members within their FoMD roles, that upholds the highest standards of ethical conduct, integrity, respect and accountability. These require social and communicative competence to integrate multiple competing priorities in complex and uncertain environments. This will define how we handle ourselves in different situations, such as teaching, learning, mentoring, research, clinical care, administration and community engagement. Swick HM. 2000. Towards a normative definition of medical professionalism. Acad. Med. 75:612-616.

FoMD Professionalism Values (Nov 2020)

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is committed to creating a positive environment that is conducive to optimal education, research, and clinical care. FoMD members should strive to maintain the following values.

These include but are not limited to:

  1. Honesty, Integrity and Confidentiality.
  2. Respect and Civility.
  3. Responsible Behavior.
  4. Excellence and Inquiry.

What are types of Unprofessional Behaviours & Mistreatment?

This includes but is not limited to:

  1. Mistreatment (treats others badly, puts down others, yelling, insulting, belittling or offensive remarks).
  2. Rudeness and Disrespect (lack of respect for others and others’ opinions, foul language in the workplace).
  3. Bullying, threatening and intimidation (use of superior strength/influence to force others to do what one wants).
  4. Harassment (inappropriate physical and/or sexual contact, unacceptable behavior in the context of social norms).
  5. Discrimination (unjust, unequal or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people based on grounds of race, ethnic origin, religion, marital or family status, genetic characteristics, age, gender identity, disability.
  6. Spreading rumours, gossiping, says untrue things.
  7. Microaggressions (a subtle, powerful, often unintentional form of discimination) - Ro & Villareal 2019; Wong et al 2014.
  8. Sexual or physical violence.

Racism is contained within all of these types of mistreatment. However, it is important to specifically name and address racism to confront legacies of structural and institutional racism (Williams et al. Acad Med 2019)

Students describe two ways of experiencing mistreatment and harassment (adapted from Gan & Snell, Acad Med 2014)

  1. Incident-Based:(eg: name calling, public humiliation, insults, lack of respect). These types of mistreatment are thought to be easier to identify, better supported by administration and easier to report.
  2. Environment-Based (eg: lack of courtesy, lack of acknowledgement, lack of supervision, doing non-educational work in a hostile environment). These types of mistreatment are thought to be harder to identify, more insidious, and harder to report.