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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.24 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

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