The word professionalism is used extensively in our everyday lives, but do we really understand what it is to be a professional? A professional is someone who wears a white coat and is super intelligent, right? Growing up, that’s the image we gather but, what does it really mean to be a professional? Being a professional does apply to the external appearance but what is it intrinsically that makes a person a professional? Professionalism is the demonstration of structural, attitudinal and behavior attributes of a profession. The structural component is the physical attributes that are visible to others, this includes professional presentation through hygiene, dress and educational level. A professional attitude is believing in service to the public regardless of personal demographics.
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Professional behavior is the demonstration of putting others needs above one’s own.
The key tenets of professionalism consist of altruism, honesty and integrity, accountability and respect. As a professional it is a pharmacist’s duty to acquire these attributes. Altruism is the unselfish commitment to serve in the best interests of the patient, regardless of the patients’ demographics. Altruism entails putting the patients’ needs above one’s own. Honesty and integrity are expressed by being fair, truthful and always keeping the best interest of the patient in mind and must be displayed in all that one does. Accountability is fulfilling the implied covenant pharmacists have with their patients and addressing societal health needs. It is necessary for professionals to treat others with respect, by expressing empathy and compassion to all. Each of these tenets are part of the pharmacist’s professional duty.
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