Professionalism is one of the six core competencies assessed as part of the ABMS Program for Maintenance of Certification (ABMS MOC®). Physicians must demonstrate their commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities; adhering to ethical principles; delivering compassionate, patient-centered care; demonstrating humanism; being sensitive to diverse patient populations and workforce; and practicing wellness and self-care.


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Mutual caring between clinician and patient only thrives within the mutually understood boundaries of a professional relationship. Occasionally, unexamined feelings or misinterpreted communications by patient or clinician lead to incursions beyond those boundaries, and such incursions always threaten the relationship. In this module, we explain the principles to address boundary issues such as operationalizing altruism, seeking to understand the patient's and your own motives and needs, being vigilant about the power differential inherent in clinician-patient relationships, and consulting with colleagues or mentors when a problem arises.

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