The taxonomy of professionalism: reframing the academic pursuit of professional development

Am J Pharm Educ. 2009 Jul 10;73(4):68. doi: 10.5688/aj730468.


Student professionalism continues to be an elusive goal within colleges and schools of pharmacy. Several reports have described the nature of professionalism and enumerated the characteristic traits of a professional, but educational strategies for inculcating pharmacy students with attitudes of professionalism have not been reliably effective. Some authors have suggested the need for a standard definition. If the goal can be more clearly conceptualized by both faculty members and students, and the moral construct of the fiduciary relationship between pharmacist and patient better understood, the development of professional values and behaviors should be easier to achieve. This paper describes a new approach to defining professionalism that is patterned after Bloom's Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. It includes the general concept of patient care advocacy as an underlying paradigm for a new pharmacy practice model, and defines 5 behavioral elements within each of the 3 domains of professionalism: competence, connection, and character.

Keywords: advocacy; fiduciary; patient care; professionalism; students; taxonomy.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Pharmacy / classification*
  • Education, Pharmacy / standards
  • Health Occupations / classification*
  • Health Occupations / education
  • Health Occupations / standards*
  • Humans
  • Pharmacy / classification*
  • Pharmacy / standards
  • Professional Competence / standards*
  • Terminology as Topic*