Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics



SPECIAL SECTION: RESPONDING TO THE CALL OF PROFESSIONALISM

Where Is the Virtue in Professionalism?


DAVID J.  DOUKAS  a1
a1 University of Pennsylvania and the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities Task Force on Graduate Medical Education in Bioethics and Humanities

There is a wind of change about to affect the training of all house officers in the United States. The Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) has promulgated a set of general competencies for all U.S.-trained residents, with a major thrust focused on bioethics and professionalism that will likely catch residency directors unaware. The ACGME's General Competencies document globally addresses many relationship-based ethical roles and responsibilities of house officers in healthcare. Of note, this document contains a specific section on professionalism. However, the entire document is woven with a sustained thread of medical ethics throughout its other sections. The intent is to imbue each physician with those skills, rules, and aspects of character that will be a foundation for humane, ethical, professional conduct. Professionalism does indeed go beyond ethical principles, accounting for competency and commitment to excellence and, most of all, implying a virtue ethics account of medical practice. The need to address the central place of virtue ethics in house-staff education is apparent, and we now have the right tool for the job—the ACGME General Competencies.



Metrics
0Comments