A PROFESSION "is a body of men who carry on their work in accordance with rules designed to enforce certain standards both for the better protection of its members and for the better service of the public... Its essence is that it assumes certain responsibilities for the competence of its members or the quality of its wares...."1
Even though Tawney was addressing the business world, we can justly believe he was taking a page from our charter and had in mind our own profession as the one group longest and best meriting such designation within borders of this definition. The quotation here, however, is not chosen for self-adulation, but to suggest the presence of, and the continued need for, preservation of that sense of professional responsibility for competence. The realities of both the historical tradition of concern as well as desire and need require comment.
A recent editorial in
Delp M. The Profession's Concern for Professional Competence. JAMA. 1964;189(1):31-34. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070010037007