CanMEDS Professional
CanMEDS and the Professional Role

CanMEDS and the Professional Role


 The CanMEDS Professional Key Competencies

1. Demonstrate a commitment to their patients, profession, and society through ethical practice;

2. Demonstrate a commitment to their patients, profession, and society through participation in profession-led regulation;

3. Demonstrate a commitment to physician health and sustainable practice.

For a complete list of the Key and Enabling Competencies for the Professional Role, please see the ’Related Topics’ section at the bottom of the page.


In this short video (70 seconds) Dr. Mala Joneja reflects on the Role of Professional and offers practical suggestions to residents.




Is it Professional? Your call!


We can all give examples of the elements of professionalism and describe aspects of it, it is harder to come up with a succinct definition for medicine.  In some ways we might have an easier time to see or feel professionalism, or lack there of.  


Try the next two activities and think about what behaviours you think are professional. 



Can we make a distinction between the things we do - our actions and the way in which we do them - our behaviours? Is it possible to do a professionally appropriate task in a way that actually demonstrates unprofessional behaviour? Provide an example of such a situation.


Think about your most recent patient encounter. Describe your actions and intentions in that encounter.


Which of your actions were "professional"?

What behaviours in that encounter were "professional"?


What are the barriers to providing "professional" or "ideal" care?

What else could you have done to improve the interaction?



1.Identify the behaviours that are considered professional and aid with the promotion of relationships with patients and colleagues.
greet patients by their name and tell them your name and role in their care.
being late
standing when talking to patients
learn who your patients are
allow interruptions, even if personal or non-urgent
discuss patient issues in public places
the physician is usually in charge
be compassionate and caring
glancing at your phone during a patient interaction
drinking coffee while doing rounds
criticizing another medical specialty
using labels to describe your patients. "the borderline patient in room 202 is having abdominal pain"
mimicking a patient's accent or disability for comic effect
making an effort to learn and use the names of the people you work with.
References for this Activity
1. Wright SM, Hellman DB, Ziegelstein RC. 52 Precepts that medical trainees and physicians should consider regularly. Am J Med 2005;118:435-438.