Skip Navigation

MUSC GME Resident Handbook

Home > Graduate Medical Education > Policies > Resident Professionalism
Graduate Medical Education  2017-2018

Close Window


Resident Handbook Introduction

Letter of Commitment/
Accreditation Status Disclaimer

Administration & Governance - Graduate Medical Education Programs

Policies & Procedures

Salaries & Benefits

MUSC Policies

Appendix 1 - Resident Agreements (Medical and Dental)

Appendix 2 - Evaluation Forms

Appendix 3 - Forms

Appendix 4 - Scopes of Practice

Appendix 5 - Program Resources




There has been an increased focus on professionalism in medicine over the past decade. Many within and outside medicine have called for training medical students and residents in order to develop the attributes of medical professionalism. Physicians must recognize their responsibility to meet their obligations to their patients, their communities and their profession.

ACGME Definition of Professionalism - As manifested through a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical priniciples, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population.


  1. Each program will develop a curriculum program to teach medical professionalism.
  2. Each program will develop methods to evaluate professionalism as part of the residents’ overall evaluation.
  3. Each program will develop policies and procedures to handle incidents of unprofessional behavior, including documentation of the incident(s) and counseling of the resident.
  4. The assessment of professionalism must begin with a shared definition of the knowledge, skills and attitudes to be assessed. Some of the following sets of behaviors, but not all,comprise medical professionalism.* 
  • Physicians subordinate their own interests to the interests of others;
  • Physicians adhere to high ethical and moral standards;
  • Physicians respond to societal needs, and their behaviors reflect a social contract with the communities served;
  • Physicians evince core humanistic values, including honesty and integrity, caring and compassion, altruism and empathy, respect for self, patients, peers, attendings, nurses, and other health care professionals;    
  • Physicians exercise accountability for themselves and for their colleagues;
  • Physicians recognize when there is a conflict of interest to themselves, their patients, their practice;    
  • Physicians demonstrate a continuing commitment to excellence;    
  • Physicians exhibit a commitment to scholarship and to advancing their field;    
  • Physicians must (are able to) deal effectively with high levels of complexity and uncertainty;    
  • Physicians reflect critically upon their actions and decisions and strive for IMPROVEMENT in all aspects of their work;    
  • Professionalism incorporates the concept of one’s moral development;    
  • The profession of medicine is a “self-regulating” profession, dependent on the professional actions and moral development of its members; this concept includes one’s responsibility to the profession as a healer;    
  • Professionalism includes receiving and responding to critiques from peers, students, colleagues, superiors;    
  • Physicians must demonstrate sensitivity to multiple cultures;    
  • Physicians must maintain competence in the body of knowledge for which they are responsible - they must have a commitment to life long learning; 
  • The attributes of altruism and dutifulnes.

 * Swick, HM "Toward a Normative Definition of Medical Professionalism" Academic Medicine 75(6):612-6, 2000

   5.  It is not possible to list all accounts and behaviors which constitute unprofessional conduct.  The following are some common types of unprofessional (and unacceptable) behaviors; cheating on scholarly activities, plagiarism, falsification of data on personnel records, medical records or other official documents, fraud, forgery, altering medical records without approval, sexual harassment, and inappropriate relationships between administrators, faculty and other supervisory personnel and a resident, alcohol or substance abuse, etc.  A resident who exhibits a pattern of unprofessional behavior (e.g. repeated incidents) will be suspended and/or terminated from the residency program.