Professionalism Series: Thoughts on Professionalism

On April 9, 2012, in Committee News, Professionalism, by NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine SGA

By Hope Fokas, OMS-III

As I began my journey into medical school, the idea of professionalism was one that was only familiar in acquaintance. The concepts, the purpose, and the practice of professionalism were all individualized into separate meanings and behaviors. From the first day of NYCOM, I was asked to begin looking and applying every component of professionalism into one composite. How was I supposed to achieve this?

In order to truly master any practice, you must break it down into it simplest parts and keep adding to your foundation. Staying at your present point of understanding is not enough. You must waiver between where you started from, where you went, and where you are going in your learning.

In your medical professionalism journey, you begin by collecting the pieces of stories of unnamed faces and people. You group these characteristic traits into syndromes. In the background of thought, one day you will match these compilations to those you meet and help along the way.You bridge the gap through practicals which give you a glimpse of pairing your knowledge with another living and breathing human being.You have only just started to acknowledge the importance of professionalism.

In your third year, professionalism stares you right into the face in the eyes and sounds of a patient in front of you. You, at first, are overwhelmed with the suffering of this human being. This is a perfect and beautiful introduction thought. This is in my eyes the basis of medical professionalism. Someone has an ailment and will express it in a story. Whether it is in sadness, neutrality, or even anger, they are telling you about themselves and trying to find help. Their mode of communication will be varied but your purpose of careful listening and understanding will never change.

The next step is to build on their story by adding to the parts they may not able to tell you or express. This is the physical examination. It is lead by what you have been directed to. This is where the trust is created from: demonstrating understanding and further exposure of one another to each other.

By this point, you must cement the final steps of professionalism. This is interchange. The story has now become one that is shared by two. A helpful conclusion is wished for by both now and they take the steps together to achieve it.

This is how I have seen it these days. The article which I have left for you to read has its own interpretation. I know my thoughts on this will grow just as anything would given time, space, and experience. I invite you to begin finding your own meaning to professionalism, never accepting one definition from one moment’s time, and building on this journey every step of the way.

You may find the full Express Healthcare article here:


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