Professionalism: A Piercing Dilemma | Humanities | JAMA Internal Medicine | JAMA Network
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Mar 25, 2013

Professionalism: A Piercing Dilemma

Author Affiliations

Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco.

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(6):406. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2744

While interviewing for a junior faculty position at a very prestigious academic medical center, I attended morning report. I do not remember the clinical case, but the female chief resident who was leading the report made a lasting impression. She was wearing pants and a short top that allowed a belly button ring to be prominently displayed. Maybe management of the case had been superb and the discussion, sublime, but I could not concentrate and began to doubt the caliber of the program. I imagined what kind of trainees would have such little respect for their patients and what kind of faculty (would-be colleagues) would not admonish such attire? Is not the doubt that I felt the same doubt that patients feel when they encounter a health care provider with unprofessional grooming or attire?