• Shyam Murali

Professionalism - Dr. Dave Ledrick


It can be difficult to get along with everyone you work alongside. However, that does not give us an excuse to be unprofessional with others. Dr. Ledrick moderated an interactive session during our weekly didactics (#EMConf) about professionalism. Here are his notes from that presentation:


Why do we need this lecture?

  • We actually did this lecture a few years ago, because the interns were a bunch of spoiled millennials who wanted to be spoon-fed everything and had a really low pain tolerance

  • Having a strong work ethic is part of professionalism, but it is only a part

  • The most common reason for disciplinary action in medicine is due to professionalism concerns, not malpractice or QA issues

Seriously, why though?

  • You can’t rely on people acting professionally on instinct alone

  • There is no way we can cover this topic in 40 minutes

  • A lecture is probably the worst way to teach this - No way to cover every situation - Professionalism/professional behavior guides/informs approach in unfamiliar situations - It takes years to feel comfortable in unfamiliar situations - It takes experience (and mistakes) to become an "expert"

  • This lecture is intended to get you to think about professionalism not describe a dress code, tattoo policy, or how not to be an ass-hat to your colleagues. If the whole world is pissing you off find a mirror and take a good hard look.

You are all basically a bunch of millennials
  • Educated

  • Diverse

  • Tech savvy

  • Goal oriented

  • Family/self centered

  • High expectations of self/others

  • Team oriented

  • Attention seeking

  • Parents still pay for your cell phones

Context matters

  • What is considered professional may be different depending on the observer

  • Ethical dilemmas arise when two different value systems interact

  • Actions have consequences

  • Attitude influences behaviors, behavior influences attitude

  • Appearance can set expectations (clothes/body language do matter)

Possible Definitions of Professional

  • Have specialized knowledge

  • Is competent/reliable

  • Doesn’t make excuses

  • Demonstrate honesty/integrity

  • Is accountable - Takes responsibility for task completion

  • Self regulatory - Assess and modify their own behavior

  • Is experienced - Has shown ability to work in the environment

Attributes of professionals

  • Knowing - Understands knowledge - Applies knowledge

  • Doing - Skill development

  • Helping - Being there, exercise judgement, make a difference

  • Life-long learners - Stays current in knowledge and skills - Cutting edge – able to solve tomorrow’s problems

Questions for Reflection

  • What are three things that other physicians do that irritate you? How can that be changed?

  • What would you consider to be three characteristics of a professional?



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