Demonstrating Professionalism

What is Professionalism?

Part of ABPMR's mission is to assure the public that our diplomates uphold the highest standards of professionalism in personal conduct with patients and colleagues.

Read the ABPMR Definition of Professionalism in full below.

Medical Professionalism for ABPMR CC


The first requirement of the Continuing Certification Program through the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR) is Professionalism. The requirement is met in part by holding a current, valid, and unrestricted license to practice medicine—which means the physician is upholding the professional requirements of that license.

However, ABPMR standards of medical professionalism go beyond licensure.

All diplomates in good standing of the ABPMR are required to hold a valid license but are also expected to conform to the following definition of professionalism in personal conduct.

ABPMR Definition of Professionalism

Medical professionalism refers to the ideal that the individual physician, as well as the medical profession as a whole, is committed to intellectual and moral excellence in medicine. This is upheld by three fundamental principles:

  • 1.

    The patient's needs are the first priority. Primary to practicing medicine is a physician's commitment to protect and promote the patient's health above all other considerations, including all forms of self-interest.
  • 2.

    Physicians should possess the latest medical knowledge and current clinical skills. A profession in medicine means a commitment to lifelong learning, including keeping up with current medical knowledge and clinical and team skills necessary for quality patient care.
  • 3.

    The medical profession is held to the highest ethical standards. In the practice of medicine, physicians are expected to demonstrate integrity, honesty, fairness, justice, responsibility, and service to the greater good.

These principles are demonstrated primarily in the physician-patient relationship and are evidenced by certain competencies and responsibilities. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Demonstration of compassion, courtesy, and respect for patients
  • Use of effective communication and interpersonal skills with patients and colleagues
  • Responsiveness to patient needs
  • Respect for patient autonomy
  • Commitment to patient confidentiality
  • Contribution to the public good
  • Continual improvement of one's own knowledge and skills
  • Accountabilty to the medical profession and society at large
  • Sensitivity to a diverse patient population