Professionalism Objectives

UVA Surgery Resident checking a patient's heartbeat.Each School of Medicine student is responsible for learning and demonstrating behaviors that encourage civility, a collaborative spirit, openness to learning and the best quality patient care. Consistent with these responsibilities, these Professionalism Objectives set forth general standards for competencies in ethical behavior, honesty and integrity, advocacy, empathy and respect, self-awareness, responsibility for learning, teamwork, collegiality, balance and avoidance of conflicts of interest.

These Professionalism Objectives are general standards that are intended to express values central to the mission of the School of Medicine and may guide the faculty and the Academic Standards and Advancement Committee in reviewing students’ attainment of competencies in Professionalism.


  1. Behave in an ethical manner that inspires trust amongst patients, coworkers, and the public
    • Respect bodily integrity of patients; protect patient privacy.
    • Identify yourself as a learner.
    • Maintain confidentiality of patient information.
    • Set appropriate boundaries in interpersonal relationships.
  2. Exhibit honesty and integrity in all interactions
    • Accurately attribute sources in all written and oral presentations.
    • Accurately represent clinical actions and findings.
    • Demonstrate proper care and use of institutional property and personal property of others.
    • Admit mistakes and errors.
  3. Advocate for the needs and well being of patients, learners and others with whom you serve
    • Altruistically champion patient rights in a manner appropriate to your level of training.
    • Respect and assist staff, residents and students.
    • Identify when patients’ needs supersede your needs.
    • Be aware when situations require the help or expertise of others (e.g., reporting abuse, assisting with social services agencies).
  4. Demonstrate caring, compassion, empathy and respect
    • Communicate in a polite tone and manner in all exchanges and encounters.
    • Communicate in a manner that is respectful of and sensitive to the patient’s and family’s age, orientation, culture and beliefs.
    • Be sensitive to the emotional needs of others.
  5. Demonstrate awareness of your own perspectives and biases
    • Identify conscious and unconscious biases that might influence your interactions with patients and others.
  6. Assume responsibility and accountability for your education
    • Recognize and take action to correct deficiencies in your behavior, knowledge and skill.
    • Request specific external feedback – measure that feedback against your own self-assessment.
    • Reflect on and take action to improve in response to feedback.
      6.4. Seek to achieve deeper learning – learning from every patient you take care of and learning beyond clerkship learning objectives.
  7. Function effectively as a team member
    • Fulfill assigned roles and request assistance and/or education when needed.
    • Demonstrate respect for knowledge, skills and expertise of other team members.
    • Contribute equally to the work of the team.
    • Self-regulate your behavior to positively impact the team environment.
    • Continue to develop and refine robust teamwork skills.
  8. Fulfill your responsibilities as a learner and a colleague
    • Complete all written, oral and assessment requirements in a timely manner.
    • Be attentive and participatory during learning activities.
    • Collaborate with classmates in active learning sessions – share your knowledge and skills with those around you.
    • Complete administrative requirements in a timely manner (e.g., scheduling, evaluations).
    • Be punctual to all activities.
    • Strive to contribute to a positive and professional learning environment.
    • Provide respectful feedback to others to help their continued growth and Development.
  9. Recognize and avoid conflicts of interest
    • Comply with conflict of interest policies.
  10. Attend to balance in commitments to self and others
    • Recognize signs of impairment in yourself and others and take appropriate action.
    • Work to develop personal habits that promote social, physical and mental health and well-being.