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Domain 12 : Professionalism
A professional is someone with special expertise who gains the the privilege of self-regulation through vocation and service, high ethical standards, critical self-appraisal, and personal development. Professionalism includes the capacity for clinical judgement (the translation of data into knowledge and knowledge into appropriate actions). These distinguishing attitudes and behaviours can be evaluated in terms of communication skills, professional relationships, and personal governance (personal standards, self-development, insight, and self-control).

Communication skills:

Features of competent performance

  • Understands communication is a 2-way process.
  • Prior planning & preparation of patient (including consent), staff and equipment.
  • Sensitive to the reactions and emotional needs of others.
  • Able to communicate at all levels.
  • Gives accurate information which is consistent between teams and over time.
  • Allows time for understanding and reflection; clarifies ambiguities.
  • Listens.
  • Appropriate use of non verbal communication.
  • Accurate documentation.


By the end of specialist training, the trainee...

12.1 Communicates effectively with patients and relatives

12.2 Communicates effectively with members of the health care team
12.3 Maintains accurate and legible records / documentation

Professional relationships with patients and relatives:

Features of competent performance

  • Focuses on the needs of the patient and family.
  • Maintains trust and reassures appropriately.
  • Listens.
  • Is polite and caring.
  • Seeks the views and opinions of the patient.
  • Shows respect for patients' wishes, privacy, dignity and confidentiality.
  • Unprejudiced.
  • Views each patient and relative as an individual.


By the end of specialist training, the trainee...

12.4 Involves patients (or their surrogates if applicable) in decisions about care and treatment

12.5 Demonstrates respect of cultural and religious beliefs and an awareness of their impact on decision making
12.6 Respects privacy, dignity, confidentiality and legal constraints on the use of patient data

Professional relationships with members of the health care team:

Features of competent performance

  • Accessible & approachable.
  • Leads and delegates appropriately according to role and ability.
  • Respects and values others' roles.
  • Exchanges information effectively.
  • Supports all members of the multidisciplinary team.
  • Punctual and reliable.


By the end of specialist training, the trainee...

12.7 Collaborates and consults; promotes team-working
12.8 Ensures continuity of care through effective hand-over of clinical information
12.9 Supports clinical staff outside the ICU to enable the delivery of effective care
12.10 Appropriately supervises, and delegates to others, the delivery of patient care

Self governance:

Features of competent performance

  • Accepts responsibility for safe patient care, including continuity of care.
  • Shows initiative and adopts a proactive, problem solving approach.
  • Manages stress.
  • Decisive when action is needed.
  • Respects and applies ethical principles.
  • Promotes the highest quality of practice, education and research.
  • Unbiased.
  • Interested and motivated.
  • Seeks learning opportunities; has insight into personal educational needs, strengths and limitations.
  • Seeks help appropriately, acknowledges and learns from mistakes.
  • Recognises and seeks to address unprofessional behaviour in others.
  • Manages time and organises self effectively.
  • Appropriate attire and personal hygiene.
  • Accessible, punctual and reliable.


By the end of specialist training, the trainee...

12.11 Takes responsibility for safe patient care
12.12 Formulates clinical decisions with respect for ethical and legal principles
12.13 Seeks learning opportunities and integrates new knowledge into clinical practice
12.14 Participates in multidisciplinary teaching
12.15 Participates in research or audit under supervision

All competencies
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Note that the "Resources" that are included in this page, have not been updated in the recent years. An updated collection of useful resources will be available soon as part of the ESICM Academy (for more details, see www.esicm.org).

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