Welcome to the College - Page 13

The Practice Guide competence is more than just clinical skills and knowledge; it is also practising safely and effectively. Safe and effective care is achieved when physicians know about and abide by their professional obligations, and are competent as communicators, collaborators, advocators, and managers. It is expected that throughout a physician’s career he or she will maintain his or her competence to ensure that patients receive the best care possible. Physicians should never forget that their primary responsibility is to the patient(s) standing before them, either individually or collectively. The principles of practice listed below encompass these competencies. Duties reflect the profession’s values and demonstrate the principles of practice in action. Physicians should be committed to lifelong learning and be responsible for maintaining the medical knowledge and clinical skills necessary to provide the highest possible quality of care to patients. Duties 1. Demonstrating Professional Competence Physicians should be skilled clinicians committed to the values of the profession. At all times physicians should: A. INDIVIDUALLY TO THE PATIENT • be aware of deficiencies in knowledge or ability; Principles of Practice • obtain help when needed; and The doctor-patient relationship is the foundation of the practice of medicine. It reflects the values of compassion, service, altruism, and trustworthiness. Trustworthiness is the cornerstone of the doctorpatient relationship; without trust a good doctorpatient relationship cannot exist. • ensure that their practice matches their level of competence. Physicians have a fiduciary duty to their patients – because the balance of knowledge and information favours the physician, patients are reliant on their physicians and may be vulnerable. The patient must always be confident that the physician has put the needs of the patient first. This principle should inform all aspects of the physician’s practice. Physicians are expected to make their patient’s needs the first priority, but accomplishing this requires a broader focus than the direct physicianpatient relationship. In order to meet individual patient needs, physicians should consider their contributions to their individual patients, but also to their own practice, the community, and the health care system. Physicians hold a respected position in society and, in return, they have responsibilities. In terms of individual patient care, physicians should provide medical care based on objective evidence whenever possible. This includes demonstrating a sense of inquiry and taking a scientific approach to solving clinical issues for the benefit of the patient. 2. Maintaining Confidentiality An important component of trust is the honest and compassionate communication of information in complete confidence. Receiving and giving sensitive patient information is essential to the physician’s ability to provide quality care to the patient. Patients give information to physicians in a unique context where they have the utmost faith that the physician will maintain patient privacy and confidentiality. Physicians must safeguard patient information. Occasionally, however, their responsibility to the public outweighs their responsibility to an individual patient, necessitating reporting to another party. Welcome to the College – May 2016 13