5.2 Role of the Professional

As professionals, practitioners are committed to the health and well-being of individuals and society through ethical practice, profession-led regulation, and high personal standards of behaviour.1

Professionalism in the Global Health Context

A doctor treating a baby.
Photo Credit: Médecins Sans Frontières

Practitioners may find themselves working in environments with different cultural, medical, and social norms and in situations where they are entrusted with additional responsibilities. These factors can pose significant challenges for setting boundaries and professionalism. For this reason, when in a setting without well-established, defined roles and responsibilities, it is important for the practitioner to see themselves as a medical “ambassador” and to act within one’s knowledge and skill level.


Definitions for Selected Terms:

Medical ambassador
A high-ranking health professional who represents a gold standard of practice and applies this standard to his or her daily work in any type of setting or environment.
Ethical engagement
To incorporate right conduct and right moral values when participating in a certain situation.
Patient welfare
To make sure the well-being of the patient is not compromised.
Patient autonomy
To make sure the patient has a sense of independence and freedom with regards to health-related decisions.
Social justice
To understand the need for equality and value human rights when treating each patient.