5.1 Objectives


Through this module, you will:

  • Enhance your understanding of professionalism.
  • Appreciate the role of reflection and ethical debate in maintaining “professionalism” in humanitarian and resource-limited settings.
  • Be introduced to the role of medical ambassador and its importance in community engagement.

Host Introduction Video

Read the video transcript

Bonjour, je suis le Dr. Kevin Pottie et je tiens à vous souhaiter la bienvenue. I am a family physician teacher and researcher at the University of Ottawa. I have worked with several international organizations, including Médecins sans frontières. My passion for global and refugee health has taken me around the world and inspired a commitment to ethical engagement; meaning: when we enter settings that serve communities outside our social and cultural group, we must consider our limitations, appreciate the harms we could cause, and consider our role in building trust for medical interventions. Maintaining our professionalism, our personal conduct, competencies, and ethical behaviour, is central to the practice of global health.

This module will focus on ethical engagement and medical professionalism as a skill to ensure safety, quality and sustainability. Bienvenue!

Duration: 59 seconds

Student Perspective vs. Professional Conscience

Humility, acknowledging one’s limits –unknown unknowns and known unknowns– is one of the first steps to professionalism. Mistakes can lead to serious harms.

A jellyfish floating in the ocean.

Student Perspective Professional Conscience
“They have nothing, no doctors, no nurses even. I must operate. It’s better I do something than nothing.” “Am I certain they have nothing? Do I fully appreciate the context? Could I cause harm?”
“But they have no medicine, no education, barely any food, and no access to clean water.” “Even if they appear to have very little from my point of view; they do have dignity. Am I working within my knowledge and skill level?”