Professionalism is a commitment to a set of values, behaviours and relationships, which underpin the trust that the public hold in dental care professionals. Shortcomings within this Domain are often responsible for patient dissatisfaction, concern and complaint and emphasis is placed on the importance of embedding these values from an early stage within the curriculum.
Professionalism must therefore permeate all aspects of good dental practice. It is a complex, multidimensional construct, which has individual, interpersonal and societal dimensions.
These are context dependent and encompass competences within areas relating to: ethics, regulation and professional behaviour.
The GED identifies four competences in the professionalism domain.
Ethics provides the foundation for professionalism. The graduate Dentist must understand the ethical principles of health care and be competent to apply them in every aspect of Dentistry. In common with other branches of health care, the core ethical principles are (Brennan et al. 2002):
- the primacy of patient welfare
- respect for patient autonomy
- commitment to social justice
Within the GED eight learning outcomes have been identified and suggests that a graduating Dentist must be able to:
Demonstrate dignity and respect for others, without prejudice in respect of protected characteristics and social perceptions such as age, culture, diversity of background and opportunity, disability, gender, language, religion and sexual orientation
Demonstrate digital professionalism by protecting patient data, and the appropriate use of social media and digital communication, mindful of how these activities may force them into ethically challenging situations and/or damage the reputation of the wider profession (bring it into disrepute)
The graduate Dentist must have comprehensive knowledge of, and the skills to comply with, the regulatory system of the country in which they trained. This will necessarily include legislation, and codes of practice applicable to all aspects of the practice of dentistry.
The GED identified 5 learning outcomes within this competence.
Professional behaviour can be understood as the manner in which one reflects on and reconciles different aspects of professional practice, demonstrating acceptance of professional responsibility and accountability. It is an overarching competence which must permeate all aspects of good dental practice and is manifested in the manner in which high‐quality oral healthcare is provided. The GED identifies eleven learning outcomes within in this competence that a graduating Dentist must be able to demonstrate
Describe the regulation of the practice of dentistry, the local legal framework (of the country or organisation) and the various codes of practice related to dentistry, including the requirement to be registered with an appropriate regulatory body
Discuss the implications of, and be able to comply with, general legislation or regulation in areas such as health and safety legislation, infection prevention and control procedures, data protection, the use of ionising radiation and sustainability.
Professional behaviour can be understood as the manner in which one reflects on and reconciles different aspects of professional practice, demonstrating acceptance of professional responsibility and accountability. It is an overarching competence which must permeate all aspects of good dental practice and is manifested in the manner in which high‐quality oral healthcare is provided. Eleven learning outcomes have been identified by the GED to which a graduating dentist must be able to demonstrate.
Communicate effectively with patients (including parents and carers), colleagues in the dental team, other healthcare professionals, stakeholders and the public in general
Respect social concepts of health care, being conscious that it is a privilege to be entrusted with the health care of members of society and that with this privilege come responsibilities
Select and prioritise treatment options that are sensitive to each patient's individual needs, goals and values, compatible with contemporary therapy and congruent with human rights, a comprehensive oral health care philosophy and healthcare economics
A graduating Dentist should be aware of the importance of environmental sustainability in oral health care and their ethical obligations to provide effective oral healthcare whilst minimising the impact on the environment. This overarching competence should be embedded in all aspects of oral healthcare provision to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. Six learning outcomes have been identified by the GED to which a graduating dentist must be able to demonstrate.