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Professionalism is a key attribute for health professionals. Yet, it is unknown how much faculty development is directed toward skills and behaviours of faculty professionalism. Faculty professionalism includes boundaries in teacher-student relationships, self-reflection, assuring one’s own fitness for duty, and maintaining confidentiality when appropriate.
For five years, we have incorporated faculty professionalism as a routine agenda item for the monthly Physician Assistant Programme faculty meetings, allowing faculty members to introduce issues they are comfortable sharing or have questions about. We also have case discussions of faculty professionalism within faculty meetings every three months.
Faculty professionalism is important in the daily work lives of faculty members and including this as part of routine agendas verifies its importance. A faculty survey showed that a majority look forward to the quarterly faculty professionalism case discussions. These have included attempted influence in the admissions process, student/faculty social boundaries, civic professionalism, students requesting medical advice, and self-disclosure.
A preventive approach works better than a reactionary approach to faculty missteps in professionalism. Routine discussion of faculty professionalism normalizes the topic and is helpful to both new and experienced faculty members. We recommend incorporation of faculty professionalism as a regular agenda item in faculty meetings.
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- Promoting faculty professionalism: a case-based approach
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