Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Exploratory Study in How Professionalism Is Explicated in Undergraduate Degrees in a Health Sciences College

Academic journal article Academy of Educational Leadership Journal

Exploratory Study in How Professionalism Is Explicated in Undergraduate Degrees in a Health Sciences College

Article excerpt

INTRODUCTION

Professionalism in the health professions is an increasingly important characteristic given the rise of consumerism, higher demand of accountability for patient and population health outcomes, and the expanding number of health professions with concomitant specialization. There is no innate sense or natural acquisition of professionalism. It is a characteristic developed in the overall education, training, and socialization of a health professional. Professionalism is a characteristic of significant importance to all health professions worldwide (Frank, J.R., 2005; Royal College of Physicians, 2005; American Board of Internal Medicine, 2001; Association of American Medical Colleges, 1999). However, efforts to define professionalism or to achieve a consensus to teach, judge, or operationalize professionalism for pre-licensure programs are surprisingly elusive (Mossop, L.H., & Cobb, K., 2013; Thampy, H, Gwynne, C., Foulke, R., Codd, R., & Burling, S. 2012).

Some health professions view professionalism as fundamental to their competencies or technical standards. Some, but not all, have professionalism explicitly stated in their codes of ethics. Some health professions describe professionalism as a set of principles; others see it as a set of values or traits. Some explain professionalism along the lines of explicit behaviors. Some health professionals and educators view professionalism as a "soft skill" and something best left to the "hidden curriculum" for students or left to the eventual maturation of the professional (Jackson, P., 1990).

Arnold undertook a review of 30 years of peer-reviewed literature, conference proceedings, bibliographies, and reference lists about medical professionalism and identified several central values such as altruism, accountability, excellence, duty and advocacy service, honor, integrity, respect for others, and ethical and moral standards (Arnold, L., 2012). The American Association of the Colleges of Nursing in "The essentials of Baccalaureate education for professional nursing practice Professionalism" defines professionalism as "the consistent demonstration of core values evidenced by nurses working with other professionals to achieve optimal health and wellness outcomes in patients families and communities by wisely applying principles of altruism, excellence, caring ethics respect communication and accountability" (AACN, 2009). The American Dietetic Association's Code of Ethics have principles that reflect the following professional behaviors: honesty/integrity, responsibility and accountability, self-improvement, self-awareness/ knowledge limits, collaboration, respect for others, and compassion/empathy (Fomari, A., 2014). In the field of health services administration, the Healthcare Leadership Alliance a consortium of six leading professional health care administration associations defines professionalism competency as "the ability to align personal and organizational conduct with ethical and professional standards that include a responsibility to the patient and community, a service orientation, and a commitment to lifelong learning and improvement" (Garman, A.N., Evans, R., Krause, M.K., & Anfossi, J., 2006). .After extensive research on the subject in this field, the Alliance identified 18 major components organized around four domains: (1) understanding professional roles and norms; (2) working with others; (3) managing oneself; and (4) contributing [to the profession and health services field].

Leaders in the health professions have developed ways to instill professionalism in their association members and suggest doing so during a student's academic formation and clinical training. Expectation exists not only after formal and legal entrée into the field; it also exists during a student's academic formation. It is important to recognize that universities, colleges, and academic programs promulgate a large body of policies and procedures, standards, and expectations for students. …

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