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Standards of Professionalism

Appropriate behavior includes, but is not in any way limited to honesty, trustworthiness, professional demeanor, respect for the rights of others, personal accountability, and concern for the welfare of patients: 

Honesty – Being truthful in communication with all others, while in the healthcare arena or in the community at large.

Maintenance of Patient Confidentiality – Discussion of patient care is restricted to those areas where conversations cannot be overheard by others outside of the care team; refraining from disclosing patient identity to those not connected to the care of the patient; maintaining appropriate security for all electronic patient records, whether in the patient care or research realms; 

Trustworthiness – Being dependable; following through on responsibilities in a timely manner; maintaining the confidentiality of patient information.

Professional Communication and Demeanor – Being thoughtful and kind when interacting with patients, their families, other members of the healthcare team, and all others; refrain from intoxication; abstaining from the illegal use of drugs (both prescription and illicit drugs);  maintaining civility in all relationships; striving to maintain composure under pressures of fatigue, professional stress or personal problems; maintaining a neat and clean appearance and dress in attire that is reasonable and accepted as professional to the patient population served.

Respect for the rights of others – Dealing with staff, and peer members of the health team in a considerate manner and with a spirit of cooperation; acting with an egalitarian spirit toward all persons encountered in a professional or non-professional setting, regardless of age, race, color, national origin, disability, religion, gender, sexual preference, socioeconomic status, or veteran/reserve/National Guard status; respecting the rights of patients and their families to be informed and share in patient care decisions; respecting patients’ modesty and privacy.

Personal accountability – Participating responsibly in patient care to the best of one’s ability and with appropriate supervision; undertaking clinical duties and persevering until they are complete; notifying the responsible person if something interferes with one’s ability to perform clinical tasks effectively; compliance with University Policies and Procedures in an honest and forthright manner.

Concern for the welfare of patients – Displaying a thoughtful and professional attitude in obtaining history and physical examinations; treating patients and their families with respect and dignity both in their presence and in discussions with others; avoiding the use of foul language, offensive gestures or inappropriate remarks with sexual overtones; discerning accurately when supervision or advice is needed and seeking these out before acting; recognizing when one’s ability to function effectively is compromised and asking for relief or help; never administering care, in person or over the phone while under the influence of alcohol or other drugs (prescription or illegal); not engaging in romantic, sexual, or other nonprofessional relationships with a patient, even upon the apparent request of a patient; advocating for the best care of the patient, in context of that patient’s beliefs and desires.

Responsibility to duty–  Effectively undertaking duties with alacrity [eagerness, enthusiasm and promptness are synonyms] and persevering until complete, or notifying a responsible more senior person of a problem; punctual attendance for class, small groups, rounds, conferences and other clinical duties, or offering appropriate explanation when unable to be present; notifying the Dean’s Office, course directors, and/or supervising house officers of absence or inability to carry out duties; seeing patients regularly and assuming responsibility for their care with appropriate supervision; identifying emergencies and responding appropriately; and  being available to faculty or staff personnel when on duty.