The KU-SOM Professionalism Initiative includes many entities and activities:
1. The "Professionalism Document" that covers the basic principles of professionalism.
2. The Academic Societies and several ceremonial components of the Medical School have been established to remind students and faculty of the rewards and obligations of the Medical Professional. These include the White Coat Ceremony for incoming first year medical students, the Transition Ceremony for third year students beginning their clinical rotations and the traditional Hooding Ceremony where new doctors are vested with the traditions and responsibilities of the profession, including a recitation of the Hippocratic oath.
3. Teaching and practicing professionalism includes a frank discussion of professional issues during daily activities as well as workshops and formal lectures on the background and significance of professionalism, including its evolution in response to changes in society.
4. The Rainbow Award, given by the students each year to a faculty member who best represents the essence of Professionalism in Medicine.
5. The Deborah E. Powell, MD Pride in the Profession Award, is awarded each year at the University of Kansas Medical Alumni Association's Graduation Celebration. The award was established by Executive Vice Chancellor Donald Hagen in July 2002 to honor former School of Medicine Executive Dean, Deborah Powell, M.D., who served as Executive Dean of the School of Medicine and Vice Chancellor for Clinical Affairs from 1997-2002. It is awarded to a senior medical student who most appropriately characterizes the qualities of professionalism in medicine. A permanent plaque is on display in the School of Medicine Dean's Office and each awardee receives a plaque and a $500 award.
6. The Advisory Group on Professionalism (AGoP) is an informal group of faculty, hospital administrators, residents, and medical students specifically trained and available to educate members of the KU community about professionalism and to hear and facilitate resolution of issues or concerns about professionalism in a non-threatening manner. Formal grievance channels are available throughout the KU system, but are often not the optimal route and individuals may fear following those channels for a variety of reasons. The AGoP is intended to assist with these issues in an informal, collegial manner, with confidentiality and respect for all parties involved. Any member of this group may be contacted individually.
White Coat Ceremony
All entering Medical Students at the University of Kansas School of Medicine take an oath of commitment during the "White Coat Ceremony", at the onset of Medical School, the beginning of their medical careers. This oath summarizes the essence of professionalism: all medical professionals are encouraged to honor the guidelines set forth in this document.
Oath of Commitment
The University of Kansas School of Medicine
As I begin my training as a physician at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, I pledge the following:
I promise to earn the trust and respect of my teachers and to return them in kind,
for only through mutual trust and respect can we learn the skills required of a physician.
I will accept responsibility for those medical duties that I feel prepared for;
I will hold back when I am not prepared;
and I will seek the experience that I need to prepare myself.
I will strive to preserve the dignity, the humanity and the privacy of all my patients,
and through my openness and kindness I will seek to earn their trust in turn.
I will treat my patients and my colleagues as my fellow beings and never discriminate against them for their differences;
and I will ask that they do the same for me.
I will value the knowledge, and the wisdom of the physicians who have preceded me;
I will add to this legacy what I am able, and I will pass it on to those who come after me.
As my skills and my knowledge grow so too will my awareness of my limitations and my errors;
I will strive to recognize and understand my weaknesses;
And I promise never to put an end to my studying and learning that I might improve myself every day of my practice, in all the years to come.
In 2004, on the occasion of the admission of the 100th class to the School of Medicine, the Honor Council introduced the Book of Honor. Each first year student signed the book as a celebration of the school's trusting community and its foundation in the Honor Code. The book stands as a testament to the special environment we take part in, an environment of integrity and character grounded in the Honor Code. The signing of the Honor Book serves as a symbol and a celebration of the Honor Code, and as affirmation of one's belief in a community guided by the principles of professionalism.
Knowledge is Healing Program
The Knowledge is Healing Program honors donors to the KUMC Willed Body Program. Each fall, students and School of Medicine faculty participate and express their appreciation and gratitude to the donor families.
The Transition Ceremony at the University of Kansas, School of Medicine is a rite of passage which signifies that students have attained the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors required to begin to care for patients. The Transition Ceremony is held as Medical Students complete their second year of studies and prepares them to begin their role as student clinicians. Making the transition from the first two pre-clinical years of medical school to the clinical rotations is a critical transition in a medical student's life. It is a landmark in the educational career of each student and celebrates the students' readiness to use their basic science and clinical science skills in the care of patients on their clerkships.
The event celebrates the success of our students, alleviates some of the anxiety associated with the transition from an emphasis on classroom learning to the clinical rotations, and reviews the critical issues of professionalism, HIPAA, confidentiality, and the importance of humanism and compassion in patient care. An important part of the event is discussions with fourth year students in which senior students mentor entering third year students and provide practical information on how to thrive on patient care units and how to provide optimal care to patients.
Project Professionalism - ABIM Committee on Evaluation of Clinical Competence and Clinical Competence and Communications Programs. Fifth printing 1999. ©American Board of Internal Medicine, 510 Walnut Street, Suite 170, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 19106-3699
Silver HK: Medical Students and Medical School: JAMA, 247(3): 309-310, 1982
Rosenberg DA, Silver HK: Medical Student Abuse, JAMA, 251(6):739-742, 1984