Special Articles  |   May 2017
On the Road to Professionalism
Author Notes
  • From the Department of Anesthesiology, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee.
  • This article is featured in “This Month in Anesthesiology,” page 1A.
    This article is featured in “This Month in Anesthesiology,” page 1A.×
  • This essay is adapted from the E. A. Rovenstine Memorial Lecture, given by the author at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Chicago, Illinois, on October 24, 2016.
    This essay is adapted from the E. A. Rovenstine Memorial Lecture, given by the author at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists in Chicago, Illinois, on October 24, 2016.×
  • Submitted for publication November 14, 2016. Accepted for publication January 9, 2017.
    Submitted for publication November 14, 2016. Accepted for publication January 9, 2017.×
  • Address correspondence to Dr. Chestnut: Department of Anesthesiology, Obstetric Anesthesia, VUH 4202, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 1211 Medical Center Drive, Nashville, Tennessee 37232. david.h.chestnut@vanderbilt.edu. Information on purchasing reprints may be found at www.anesthesiology.org or on the masthead page at the beginning of this issue. Anesthesiology’s articles are made freely accessible to all readers, for personal use only, 6 months from the cover date of the issue.
Article Information
Special Articles / Ethics / Medicolegal Issues
Special Articles   |   May 2017
On the Road to Professionalism
Anesthesiology 5 2017, Vol.126, 780-786. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000001545
Anesthesiology 5 2017, Vol.126, 780-786. doi:10.1097/ALN.0000000000001545
Abstract

Many observers have concluded that we have a crisis of professionalism in the practice of medicine. In this essay, the author identifies and discusses personal attributes and commitments important in the development and maintenance of physician professionalism: humility, servant leadership, self-awareness, kindness, altruism, attention to personal well-being, responsibility and concern for patient safety, lifelong learning, self-regulation, and honesty and integrity. Professionalism requires character, but character alone is not enough. We need others to help and encourage us. And in turn, as physician leaders, we help shape the culture of professionalism in our practice environment. Professionalism is not something we learn once, and no physician is perfectly professional at all times, in all circumstances. Professionalism is both a commitment and a skill—a competency—that we practice over a lifetime.