Saturday, April 1, 2023
HomeHealthy LivingProfessionalism in Medicine by Dr Mudasiru Salami

Professionalism in Medicine by Dr Mudasiru Salami

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I have been attending the 100th meeting of the American Association for Thoracic Surgery in the past 2 days. A statement which struck me during today’s virtual Presidential address by Dr Vaughn Starnes is: ‘patients do not exist for the benefit of doctors. The doctors exist for the benefit of patients.’ That statement speaks to professionalism in the current age of healthcare industry with empathy sometimes becoming remote and profit or just earning salaries deemed an important metric.

I believe as doctors and surgeons, we must remain strong advocates for our patients’ interest to maintain the social contract we are sworn to, anytime we interact with patients. We will obtain more satisfaction from our practice, the more we show compassion, empathy and involve our patients in their care. Communication with respect, candour and actively listening to our patients and their family’s views are core to what makes us a good medical professional. As defined in the GMC good medical practice:
‘Good doctors make the care of their patients their first concern: they are competent, keep their knowledge and skills up to date, establish and maintain good relationships with patients and colleagues, are honest and trustworthy, and act with integrity’.

Research has convincingly shown that poor patient outcomes flow from an impaired doctor-patient relationship (eg, when patients feel unheard, disrespected, or otherwise out of partnership with their physicians). Great professionalism is key to avoid such outcomes and is within our reach as medical workers in general. The question should always be — how would I like to be treated if I am the patient?
To conclude, core to medical profession is integrity and the need for patients to trust us as their doctors. This become only more crucial at a time we are encountering more complex diseases and treatment paradigms. We will need to build teams and work with others while putting patients at the center of our care experience. Ensuring that as health professionals we remain worthy of patient and public trust is a sacred responsibility. Professionalism is built on a foundation of openness, honesty and constant attention to our patients’ needs. Let’s do this daily, with focused passion.

WRITTEN BY Mudasiru Salami

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