The Path of Professionalism: Cultivating Humanistic Values and Attitudes in Residency Training


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Abstract

Though few question the importance of incorporating professionalism and humanism in the training of physicians, traditional residency programs have given little direct attention to the processes by which professional and humanistic values, attitudes, and behaviors are cultivated. The authors discuss the underlying philosophy of their primary care internal medicine residency program, in which the development of professionalism and humanism is an explicit educational goal. They also describe the specific components of the program designed to create a learner-centered environment that supports the acquisition of professional values; these components include a communication-skills training program, challenging-case conferences, home visits with patients, a resident support group, and a mentoring program. The successful ten-year history of the program shows how a residency program can enable its trainees to develop not only the requisite excellent diagnostic and technical tools and skills but also the humane and professional attributes of the fully competent physician.

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