"Professionalism can be defined as any behaviors that support trustworthy relationships."
Respectful, professional behavior fosters trust and is positively correlated with team and workplace satisfaction. Being treated with respect is correlated with increased job satisfaction and decreased burnout.8 Conversely, a toxic work environment has a negative effect on clinician wellness. Professionalism also influences morale, productivity, recruitment, and retention. An organizational approach to professionalism needs to be comprehensive, including developing a code of conduct to set institutional expectations for everyone.
In a wider sense, the problem can be framed as one of professionalism in the workplace. Professionalism is an umbrella term to define behaviours that support trustworthy relationships. Unprofessional behaviours range from criminal, such as sexual assault; non-criminal but illegal, such as sexual harassment; and disruptive, such as bullying, which is not illegal but harmful and unacceptable. I will focus here on non-criminal behaviours. Many people have examined the definition of medical professionalism as well as the sociological contexts and prevalence of unprofessional behaviour.1-3 But we face great challenges in preventing recurrent unprofessional behaviour. We urgently need to meet these challenges more effectively.4