Editorial |

The Role of Professionalism and Self-regulation in Detecting Impaired or Incompetent Physicians

Matthew K. Wynia, MD, MPH
JAMA. 2010;304(2):210-212. doi:10.1001/jama.2010.945.
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The term professional is used in various ways. A professional might be a certified expert, someone devoted to the continuous study (“practice”) of a complex craft, or someone granted the authority to carry out tasks and provide services that others are not allowed to perform. A professional might subsume personal interests to pursue a client's or the public's good. Or a professional, as compared with an amateur, might simply be someone paid for what he or she does.

Given this range of meanings, questions about which occupations are professions, and what comprises professional behavior, are long-standing.1 Yet medicine is almost universally recognized as a “classic” profession.2 Moreover, regardless of how profession is defined, professionalism, like other “-isms” (consumerism, humanism, egotism, Catholicism, and the like), is a belief system. Specifically, professionalism can best be understood as an ideology declaring an important role for professions and professionals in organizing and delivering certain goods and services in society.

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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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