Professional Self-Regulation

The medical profession has a unique body of knowledge and skills. As a result of many years of training and licensure, physicians are given the privilege of treating the medical problems of their fellow human beings. This privilege also gives physicians the right to ask the most intimate of questions, perform physical exams, and dispense medications, as well as to pick up a scalpel and perform surgery. As a profession, physicians define the 3 principal tenets of self-regulation. First, physicians establish the standards by which people may enter the profession and by which they then practice medicine. Second, physicians are responsible for teaching the medical community how to exercise those standards on a day-to-day basis. Finally, physicians must enforce those standards and decide when and how those who violate them will be disciplined.

Volume 7, Number 4: 265-330 Full Issue PDF