The NHS is regularly in the news for the pressure that it’s under. People are living longer, staff and resources are stretched, and the standard of care we expect is understandably and continually high.
Providing the workforce for an unknown and constantly changing future is a huge challenge. There are clear minimum standards of professionalism that clinicians are expected to meet to be ‘fit to practice’, but are these enough on their own? By ticking a box in professionalism, are we furnishing our future clinicians with the attributes that they need to best serve their patients and our society?
We all feel we know ‘professional’ when we see it – but we also know that on another day, in a different mood and in a different setting we may feel differently about exactly the same behaviour, conversation or attitude. Professionalism is one of those words that everyone can define, but for which definitions vary greatly, and it’s a challenging part of teaching and learning.
For some people, professionalism is about being ‘good enough to pass muster’, but for us at the University of Plymouth, it’s about being better than good; it’s about striving for excellence for the best patient care and practice.