[Skip to Content]
[Skip to Content Landing]
September 1, 1999

Instilling Professionalism in Medical Education

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Department of Medicine, Washington University, St Louis, Mo.

JAMA. 1999;282(9):881-882. doi:10.1001/jama.282.9.881

Professions have long been recognized to consist of 3 essential characteristics: expert knowledge (as distinguished from a practical skill), self-regulation, and a fiduciary responsibility to place the needs of the client ahead of the self-interest of the practitioner.1 In recent years there has been renewed recognition among medical leaders of the particular importance of the third, or altruistic, characteristic in medical professionalism.2-4 For instance, in 1994 the American Board of Internal Medicine defined the "core of professionalism" as "constituting those attitudes and behaviors that serve to maintain patient interest above physician self-interest."4