Professionalism in emergency medicine

Emerg Med Clin North Am. 1999 May;17(2):443-50. doi: 10.1016/s0733-8627(05)70070-5.


At its root, medical professionalism is service delivered according to patient's interest. It is essential to reinforce this notion because financial pressures threaten the integrity of the patient-physician relationship. Excessive commercialism directly contrasts the ideals of medical professionalism. This fact necessitates re-examination and reaffirmation of professional behavior. If historical standards of professionalism give way to market-driven incentives, the provision of medical care will become a commodity and the practitioners will be only agents of service delivery. Such a model not only threatens the the physician's identity, but also threatens the patient's interests. Medicine can never succeed as a transaction; it can only succeed as a partnership, a trusting exchange with patients, which is the hallmark of professionalism.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Conflict, Psychological
  • Emergency Medicine / organization & administration*
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Health Care Reform / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Marketing of Health Services
  • Models, Organizational
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Physician-Patient Relations
  • Professional Competence*
  • United States