Professionalism and trust

Researchers: Dr Kirsty Alexander | Dr Judith Tweedie ...

Project overview


The aim of this project is to define the values, attitudes and behaviours required of medical professionals in modern society to maintain, or restore, trust and trustworthiness. The project team will re-examine professional roles and responsibilities and align these with the needs of patients and clients.

Professionalism is widely accepted as the moral contract that exists between the professional and the public. It is an agreement that enables the public to place their trust in professionals during times of vulnerability and need. The implicit understanding being that the professional will put the interests of the patient or client at the fore.

However, professionalism is not a static concept; it is influenced inherently by the culture in which it exists, the values and behaviours of the profession and the requirements and needs of its patients and clients.

Failure to maintain dialogue about this moral contract and its development are potentially destructive to the public-professional relationship both at an individual level and to the placement of public trust at a greater societal level. Surveys and data from polls in recent years suggest that trust in the professions has been steadily declining in recent years.

As a result, this project is auspicious, offering a crucial opportunity to re-evaluate professionalism and to align the work of professionals with the needs of society.

The project team will consist of a unique collaboration of invited professions, looking to re-evaluate professionalism using the following methods:

  • Describing the role and evolution of professionalism, professional standards and regulation.
  • Examining the changing forces in society and draw conclusions about the impact of these forces.
  • Describing the attitudes, values and behaviours that are required of the modern professional and develop recommendations of how these can be promoted.

Team


  • Dr Kirsty Alexander
    UCL Medical School
  • Dr Judith Tweedie
    Professor Ann Griffin
    UCL Medical School
  • Royal College of Physicians
    Dr Laura Knight
  • University College London

  • Mark-Franks-Nuffield-Foundation-Together-alone-connecting-individual-and-collective-well-being-through-our-work-in-welfare
    Director, Welfare
    Nuffield Foundation

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We aim to improve people’s lives by funding research that informs social policy, primarily in Education, Welfare and Justice. We also fund student programmes that give young people skills and confidence in science and research.

We are an open, collaborative and engaged funder that offers more than money. Through connecting the individual projects we fund, we strengthen their collective impact and give voice to an overarching narrative.

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COVID-19 response

Nuffield-funded social scientists are conducting COVID-19 research in real-time, to capture people’s experiences of the social, cultural and economic impacts of the pandemic.