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August 10, 1963


JAMA. 1963;185(6):533-534. doi:10.1001/jama.1963.03060060131021

Membership a privilege which is earned by hard work, prescribed study, and demonstrated competence. 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 Thus, although it affords its members certain privileges not extended to those outside its ranks, it also makes demands upon them in the name of the profession.

Responsibility for competence is a serious obligation, and it involves a number of activities which must be carried on regularly by leaders of a profession. Some of these are obvious and intrinsic, such as the establishment and maintenance of educational standards which govern entrance to the profession, and the enforcement of disciplinary

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