Author Affiliations: Center for Evaluative Clinical Sciences, Dartmouth Medical School, Lebanon, New Hampshire (Dr Batalden); and Institute for Healthcare Improvement, Cambridge, Massachusetts (Dr Davidoff).
From the list of 14 characteristics he assembled in 1980, Cyril Houle, a serious student of professional education, singled out self-development as professionalism's one unchanging feature; as he put it, “[A]s an occupational group raises its level of performance . . . its right to call itself a profession increases.”1 Houle's choice of words warrants serious attention: a profession is defined by what it does, not just what it knows, and by doing what it does better all the time, not just doing it well.
Batalden P, Davidoff F. Teaching Quality ImprovementThe Devil Is in the Details. JAMA. 2007;298(9):1059-1061. doi:10.1001/jama.298.9.1059