Professionalism can actually be a really difficult concept to describe, but it is fundamental to all we do as doctors and medical students. The Royal College of Physicians define it as ‘a set of values, behaviours and relationships that underpin the trust the public has in doctors.’ The General Medical Council expects that both doctors and medical students behave in a way that justifies that trust, and has produced guidance for medical schools to make sure that professionalism as a concept is well covered in the medical course.
Professionalism in the curriculum
The professionalism curriculum in Nottingham is woven throughout the programme. In both the undergraduate and graduate entry courses, students receive an introduction to professionalism in the first couple of years. This is a combination of theory (which includes basic healthcare law and ethics) and practice, as students encounter patients for the first time in both primary and secondary care.
Once students move on to the clinical phases of the programme, professionalism teaching is very much integrated into the different clinical attachments, with components of professionalism being assessed along with other core skills.
Excellence in professionalism
While there is an expectation for all of our students to uphold a good professional manner throughout the course, there are some students who go above and beyond what is expected and demonstrate outstanding achievement in professionalism.
A member of the clinical or academic staff may now recommend a student who has really impressed them by their approach to their work and studies – this may include contributions made to life in the community which exceed expectations. Until now, we have had occasional recommendation made but no formal route for consideration. Using this process a recommendation can been made by the member of staff, which will then be reviewed by the Professional and Academic Competencies Committee (PACC) and the student will be contacted regarding the decision made.
Download the Commendation for Excellence in Professionalism form.
The school has two directors of professionalism:
Strategic delivery of the professionalism curriculum is overseen by the Professionalism and Academic Competency Committee (PACC), which is co-chaired by Peter Harris, our lay representative and Richard Knox.
For more details about professionalism in Nottingham, please contact one of the directors named above.
From the General Medical Council: