Defining Professionalism Among Doctors and Nurses

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Credit…Ojima Abalaka

To the Editor:

Re “How ‘Professionalism’ in the Medical World Can Be a Minefield” (Science Times, March 19):

Doctors and nurses have answered a calling to care — specifically, in healing the sick. They don’t think about whether their off-duty attire meets traditional definitions of appropriateness, even though some people think that is what defines or constitutes “professionalism.”

But larger questions remain. How do we train medical professionals to be leaders in their field — to commence difficult conversations about death, to manage C-suite demands and requests, to work as a team with others, or to assuage patients’ concerns in a way that fosters compassion and trust?

Hospital executives and medical staff leaders who invest in professionalism training will be rewarded with happier, healthier patients, and doctors and nurses who bring joy and love to their work.

Robert Eisinger
Robert Minkes
Dr. Eisinger is chief administrative officer at the Healthcare Experience Foundation. Dr. Minkes is a physician coach at the foundation.

To the Editor:

Regulating professionalism in medical school is challenging. While it’s crucial to instill traits like reliability and responsibility in future physicians, professionalism can also feel like a weapon wielded arbitrarily.

Some people of color worry over seemingly trivial matters like hairstyle, influenced by the prevailing notion that white people’s hair is the standard for a polished and professional look.

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