As doctors we must strive to deliver
exemplary holistic care to our patients; treating not the disease but the
person as whole. To achieve this, we must act as professionals. The journey to
becoming a professional doctor begins in medical school, and it is a process
that must continue for the rest of one’s career as doctor due to the ever-changing
and progressive nature of medicine. The Medical Council is a regulatory body
made up of doctors and lay people who aim to protect the patient from the poor
professional performance of doctors. They promote professional values among
medical professionals and oversee that doctors are being educated to the
highest standards both during their initial training and during their
continuous medical education (CME). They also deal with complaints made against
doctors by members of the public, holding doctors accountable for their professional
performance. All doctors who practice in Ireland must register with the Medical
Council. (1)

The Medical Council have formed guidelines for
professional practice and given examples of situations that doctors might
encounter. Doctors are expected to understand and follow these guidelines, and
apply them to situations they may encounter in their everyday practice. These guidelines
are based on core values that can be divided into three “pillars of
professionalism”: partnership, practice and performance. (2) Partnership mostly
concerns the formation of a positive doctor-patient relationship, patient
centred care and good communication between doctors and their patients and
colleagues. The doctor must try to understand the patient at a deeper level through
clear and direct communication, maintaining awareness of the biopsychosocial
model of medicine. For these reasons, communication and interpersonal skills
are said to be the cornerstones of medical practice. (3)

The key elements of practice involve:
prioritising the care of patients and treating them with compassion, maintaining
their confidentiality, caring for oneself and careful management of practice
systems and resources.

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