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Communications In Real or Online Settings

  • Remember: All types of written or spoken communications are subject to University policy, must always respect patient confidentiality, and may be shared without your consent.
  • Like the Surgical Pause, practice ‘pause and reflect’ before communicating.
  • Personal correspondence about professional activity may be misconstrued and/or taken out of context.
  • Be aware that your personal interactions may be considered disruptive in a professional context.
  • When you know or ought to have known that you are working for McMaster, you likely are! Professional communications are expected in all aspects of your work. ​

Hospital Partners 

McMaster University values its relationships with its hospital partners, and strives to work collaboratively with them to achieve a shared vision for professionalism.

As a Team Member

  • Be aware of the impact of your behaviour.
  • Maintain confidentiality and integrity.
  • Affirm and support your team.
  • Don’t engage in gossip.
  • Arrive on time.
  • Value honesty, integrity, and accountability to yourself, your profession, and your team.
  • Embrace appropriate transparency and effective collaboration. 

Professionalism In... 

Patient Care


The doctor-patient relationship is the foundation of the practice of medicine. It reflects the values of compassion, service, altruism, and trustworthiness. Trustworthiness is the cornerstone of the doctor-patient relationship; without trust, a good doctor-patient relationship cannot exist.


  • Compassion is fundamental to the relation ship between the patient and the doctor.
  • Compassion is defined as a deep awareness of the suffering of another coupled with the wish to relieve it.
  • A physician’s primary responsibility is to the individual patient before themself.
  • A physician should always welcome questions and provide prompt and accurate information.

Altruism/Putting Patient Interest First

  • Altruism in medicine is defined as practising unselfishly and with a regard for others.
  • Patients’ needs are paramount and must be considered before the individual physician’s needs, the needs of physicians as a group, or the public as a whole.
  • When providing care to a patient, a physician should always put that patient first.


We strive to treat our learners with respect and demonstrate patience and empathy, ensuring that we provide a positive learning environment.


McMaster University Professional Domains:

#1 – Professional Responsibility/Integrity

  • Completes required tasks
  • Truthful and honest
  • Takes appropriate responsibility
  • Respects confidentiality
  • Respects learning environment and resources
  • Balances personal interests with the needs of others

#2 – Pursuit of Excellence/Insight

  • Willing to learn from feedback
  • Able to acknowledge personal limits
  • Commitment to continued development
  • Takes action in the face of potential impairment
  • Takes initiative

#3 – Personal Interactions

  • Respectful toward others
  • Accepting of different points of view
  • Willing to reflect, receive feedback, and see the impact of self on others
  • Appreciates personal stress impacts interaction with others
  • Appears professional in a setting that inspires trust 

Social Media

McMaster University’s Department of Surgery upholds the CPSO’s core mandates for appropriate social media use by health care professionals. They are:

  • Comply with all legal and professional obligations to maintain patient privacy and confidentiality.
  • Maintain appropriate professional boundaries with patients and those close to them.
  • Maintain professional and respectful relationships with patients, colleagues, and other members of the health-care team.
  • Comply with relevant legislation with respect to physician advertising.
  • Comply with the law related to defamation, copyright, and plagiarism when posting content online.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest. 


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