Professionalism is a term freely used in everyday life as well as in all career fields, including the medical field. Yet few people would be able to assign specific criteria for a person possessing this quality. A basic attempt at definition comes from Merriam-Webster: “the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well.” But this broad explanation is insufficient in clearly identifying a person who possesses this quality.

As Norig Ellison, M.D., ASA past president (1996), has noted in attempting to apply the term to anesthesiologists and other physicians: “you know it when you see it” and “more importantly, when you don’t,” there is great subjectivity in interpretation.

Nevertheless, because professionalism is one of the ACGME Core Competencies, we, as trained anesthesiologists, are committed to attaining this...

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