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Symposium on Medical Education-NO 1
July 6, 1964

The Profession's Concern for Professional Competence

Author Affiliations

Kansas City, Kan

Chairman of the Department of Medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, and member of the Advisory Committee on Continuing Medical Education to the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association.

JAMA. 1964;189(1):31-34. doi:10.1001/jama.1964.03070010037007
Abstract

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

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