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The blurred lines of professionalism in dentistry

Bartlett, Sophie ORCID:, Russ, Elaine, Bullock, Alison ORCID:, Cserzo, Dorottya ORCID: and Cowpe, Jonathan 2023. The blurred lines of professionalism in dentistry. British Dental Journal 10.1038/s41415-023-6592-0

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Introduction Literature surrounding the definition, portrayal and teaching of professionalism in dentistry is widespread. However, there has been substantially less focus on the boundaries of professionalism and what constitutes unprofessional or a lapse in professionalism. Aims What about a dentist's conduct calls their professionalism into question? In exploring this, we shed light on where the boundary between professional and unprofessional conduct is blurred. Methods Drawing on data from a larger study, we conducted a thematic analysis on a series of statements surrounding professionalism and 772 open-text online survey responses from dental professionals and the public. Results Professionalism in dentistry and the circumstances where it is brought into question appears to centre around patient trust. Blurriness occurs when we consider how trust is established. Two lines of argument were constructed: patients' trust in the professionalism of their dentist is founded on any behaviour bearing a direct influence on clinical care or that challenges the law; and patients' trust also extends to aspects that reveal the inherent character of the dentist and that can threaten their integrity. Conclusion We recommend an approach to professionalism that mirrors a dentist's approach to clinical practice: learned and tailored interactions, and judgement and reflection.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: In Press
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Cardiff Unit for Research and Evaluation in Medical and Dental Education (CUREMeDE)
Publisher: Springer Nature
ISSN: 1476-5373
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 8 December 2023
Date of Acceptance: 8 August 2023
Last Modified: 19 Dec 2023 10:19

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