Rinsho Shinkeigaku (Clinical Neurology)

Symposium 1

What is professionalism?

Sadayoshi Ohbu, M.D. MMedSc (Clin. Epid), F.A.C.P.

Department of Sociology, Rikkyo University

What is a profession? According to Cruess, it is an occupation whose core element is work that is based on the mastery of a complex body of knowledge and skills. It is a vocation in which knowledge of some department of science or learning, or the practice of an art founded on it, is used in the service of others. Its members profess a commitment to competence, integrity, morality, altruism, and the promotion of the public good within their domain. These commitments form the basis of a social contract between a profession and society, which in return grants the profession autonomy in practice and the privilege of self-regulation. Although medical professionals share the role of healer, there are wide variations between individuals. Professionalism is the basis of medicine's contract with society. Public trust is essential to that contract, and public trust depends on the integrity of both individual professionals and the whole profession. The introduction to this important symposium includes definitions of professions and of medical professionalism. It also includes discussions of reciprocal altruism, conflicts of interest in medical societies, the theory of cognitive dissonance, and the moral foundations of professionalism.
Full Text of this Article in Japanese PDF (284K)

(CLINICA NEUROL, 52: 1024|1026, 2012)
key words: Profession, Medical professionalism, Social contract, Reciprocal altruism

(Received: 23-May-12)