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The College of Medicine statement on professionalism (2005)

There are several documents that delineate the expectations of society, the profession and the college with respect to the ethics and professionalism of medical doctors. Three such documents are replicated below. 

Note that lapses of professionalism that are egregious and/or refractory to correction may, in themselves, constitute sufficient grounds for removal from the program, regardless of performance in other aspects of the curriculum. 

The College of Medicine statement on professionalism

We, as teachers, learners and educational support personnel of the College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan have a responsibility to ourselves as individuals, to each other, and to patients and society as a whole, to understand and exhibit the highest standards of personal, interpersonal, and public professionalism.

  1. As individuals, we commit to demonstrating the personal characteristics necessary for moral function within the medical profession and the university community, and as representatives of these occupations within society as a whole. Such characteristics will include but are not limited to humility, respect for others, and self-care.
  2. As caregivers, colleagues and coworkers, we will demonstrate professional interpersonal behaviour in all settings, guided by the values of integrity, accountability, and responsibility.
  3. As medical professionals, learners, and educational support personnel interacting in the public domain, we will strive to fulfill all reasonable health-related societal expectations, demonstrating at all times compassion, reliability, honesty, respect, and an appropriate level of competence. We will seek to promote the public good and understand the principles of good stewardship. We will adhere to the Codes of Ethics of our professions and occupations.

We consider these to be important standards describing the expectations we have of ourselves and of each other, and will treat any significant divergence as a serious threat to the mission and values of the College of Medicine.

The College of Medicine’s Guiding Principles of Professionalism

Respect for others
Professionals demonstrate consideration and respect for others including patients, their families and support persons, colleagues, classmates, teachers, other professionals and the public.

  • We don't allow our conduct to negatively impact on others' learning or clinical  activities
  • We don't discriminate against others on the basis of such grounds as age, race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, ethnicity, political beliefs, religion, marital status, family status,  physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation or gender identity
  • We demonstrate respect for the dignity and rights of patients and their families or support persons, taking into account their diversities, both in their presence and in discussion with other members of the health care team
  • We accept and promote patient autonomy in decision--‐making, and when the patient lacks capacity, we consult with and appropriately take direction from surrogate decision--‐makers
  • We respect the personal boundaries of others and refrain from making unwanted or inappropriate romantic or sexual overtures towards others
  • We communicate respectfully with others both verbally and in writing
  • We respect the privacy and confidentiality of those to whom we owe that duty

Honesty and integrity
Professionals demonstrate adherence to the highest standards of personal, professional and academic honesty and integrity.

  • We communicate truthfully with others verbally and in writing
  • We don't falsify documents or records
  • We acknowledge and manage conflicts of interest appropriately, avoiding conflicts of interest, real or apparent, whenever there is potential detriment to others
  • We admit and disclose errors
  • We make accurate records of conversations, histories, physical findings and other information pertinent to patient care
  • We don't engage in plagiarism, nor do we give or receive assistance during an examination or in completion of an assignment unless such is expressly permitted
  • We conduct research in an ethical manner, analyzing and reporting results accurately and fairly
  • We credit the ideas and work of others appropriately and fairly

Compassion and empathy
Professionals demonstrate compassion and empathy for those in distress and especially for patients, their families and support persons.

  • We demonstrate effective listening
  • We are aware of and respectful of others' differences and respond appropriately to their needs
  • We show compassion and provide support for patients, their families and support persons dealing with illness and/or dying and death

Duty and responsibility
Professionals acknowledge their duties to patients, their profession and society and accept the responsibilities that flow from these duties.

  • We attend to patients' best interests and well--‐being as the first priority
  • We work cooperatively with others for the benefit of our patients and contribute to a healthy working environment for all
  • We make equitable and prudent use of health care resources under our control
  • We are responsible to society for matters relating to public health
  • We recognize and adhere appropriately to policies, codes, guidelines and laws that govern us and our work
  • We participate in the process of self--‐regulation of the profession
  • We address misconduct, incompetence or behaviours that put patients or others at risk
  • We share resources and expertise, and assume responsibility for our portion of a fairly distributed workload; where issues of fair distribution arise, we act most immediately in the patient's best interests, and seek to resolve issues of fairness through appropriate channels
  • We respond in an appropriate, non--‐judgmental and non--‐demeaning manner when our expertise is sought
  • We don't take advantage of colleagues, learners, patients, their families or support persons or others for emotional, financial, sexual or other personal purposes, and we conduct research and educational activities with these groups only with appropriate informed consent
  • We fulfill commitments, meet deadlines and are punctual particularly where these behaviours have significant impact on others; where we're unable to do so, we communicate appropriately to mitigate any negative impacts
  • We engage in lifelong learning, maintain clinical competence and strive for continuous quality improvement
  • We take appropriate and necessary responsibility for our personal health and well--‐being
  • We recognize our own limitations and seek assistance appropriately
  • We display dress, behaviour and demeanor in the educational and healthcare setting in keeping with appropriate pedagogical, clinical or safety standards

Used with Permission Dalhousie University Faculty of Medicine “Dalhousie Medical School Professionalism Committee Professionalism Policy”.

The complete College of Medicine Procedures for Concerns with Medical Student Professional Behaviour and related documents can be found at:
The complete College of Medicine professionalism policy and related documents can be found online.

Canadian Medical Association Code of Ethics

The CMA Code of Ethics and Professionalism articulates the ethical and professional commitments and responsibilities of the medical profession. It is founded on and affirms the core values and commitments of the profession and outlines responsibilities related to contemporary medical practice.

CMA Code of Ethics and Professionalism (2018)

Student Oath of Commitment

(As declared by students during their White Coat Ceremony at the beginning of Year 1)

As I begin my training as a physician at the University of Saskatchewan, College of Medicine I pledge the following:

I promise to earn the trust and respect of my teachers and to return them in kind, for only through mutual trust and respect can we learn the skills required of a physician.

I will adhere to the standards of professionalism as specified by the college, such that my conduct upholds and reflects the high calling of my profession.

I will accept responsibility for those medical duties that I feel prepared for; I will hold back when I am not prepared; and I will seek the experience that I need to prepare myself.

I will strive to preserve the dignity, the humanity and the privacy of all my patients, and through my openness and kindness I will seek to earn their trust in turn.

I will treat my patients and my colleagues as my fellow beings and never discriminate against them for their differences; and I will ask that they do the same for me.

I will value the knowledge, and the wisdom of the physicians who have preceded me; I will add to this legacy what I am able, and I will pass it on to those who come after me.

As my skills and my knowledge grow so too will my awareness of my limitations and my errors; I will strive to recognize and understand my weaknesses;

And I promise never to put an end to my studying and learning that I might improve myself every day of my practice, in all the years to come.

(Modified from the University of Kansas School of Medicine Oath of Commitment.)

(Modified from the University of Kansas School of Medicine Oath of Commitment.)