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

Markakis, Kathryn M. MD; Beckman, Howard B. MD; Suchman, Anthony L. MD; Frankel, Richard M. PhD

Academic Medicine:
Institutional Issues: Articles

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.

Author Information

Dr. Markakis is clinical assistant professor of medicine, Highland Hospital and the Program for Biopsychosocial Studies, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry (URSMD); Dr. Beckman is clinical professor of medicine and family medicine, Highland Hospital Primary Care Institute and URSMD; Dr. Suchman is associate professor of medicine and psychiatry, the Program for Biopsychosocial Studies, URSMD; and Dr. Frankel is professor of medicine and community and preventive medicine, URSMD, and director of Highland Hospital's Primary Care Institute; all in Rochester, New York.

Correspondence and requests for reprints should be addressed to Dr. Markakis, Department of Medicine, Highland Hospital, 1000 South Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620; e-mail: 〈〉.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the trainees, graduates (1991–1998), and faculty of the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency at Highland Hospital who have offered critical and constructive feedback and evaluation over the years and contributed to the success it has enjoyed.

© 2000 Association of American Medical Colleges