Interprofessional professionalism: Linking professionalism and interprofessional care
Professionalism has typically been defined as a set of non-cognitive characteristics (such as empathy) or as a set of humanistic values and behaviors through which clinicians express a commitment to excellence and compassion (Stern, 2006). Its importance is underscored by the widespread adoption of language and policies by associations, accreditors, and regulatory agencies across the health professions that require clinicians to be trained and assessed on professionalism (Greiner & Knebel,2003). Yet, a critical conceptual gap remains in defining how professionalism contributes to improved patient outcomes, especially in the context of interprofessional care environments.
Elucidation of the link between professionalism and interprofessional care is an important issue to examine. Although contemporary clinicians do not practice in social isolation, development of the professionalism concept has neglected its link to collaborative care. In the contemporary context, professionalism contributes to safe, high-quality care primarily by supporting and fostering effective interprofessional care (Gilbert, Yan, & Hoffman, 2010). We believe that persistent disciplinary insularity in health professions education has prevented this connection from being adequately emphasized.
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