Tiny Moments Matter: Promoting Professionalism in Everyday Practice

Journal of Continuing Education in the Health Professions (Quarter 2, 2018) Bernabeo, Elizabeth, C.; Chesluk, Benjamin; Lynn, Lorna

Researchers from the American Board of Internal Medicine conducted a study to explore professionalism among practicing internal medicine physicians in the context of everyday practice. The goal was to highlight how typical experiences contribute to positive, but often unacknowledged, professional behavior. In-depth interviews helped to identify 13 physicians' most meaningful experiences of professionalism. The results indicate that physicians feel most professional when they can connect and establish trust with their patients and colleagues and also when they serve as positive examples for others. "Physicians conceptualize professionalism as a dynamic and evolving competency, one that requires a lifelong commitment and that provides opportunities for lifelong learning," the researchers report. Physicians often extend themselves to connect with patients and colleagues, at times at the expense of their own work-life balance. "These moments help to infuse energy and positivity into physician practices during a time when physicians may feel overburdened, overscheduled, and overregulated," the authors note. "Understanding professionalism as developmental helps frame professionalism as a lifelong competency subject to growth and modification over time."

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