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Statement of Professional Responsibilities - ORR - AAMC

Adopted September 23, 1998

ORR Administrative Board October 31, 1998

ORR Membership Graduate Medical Education is a particularly critical time in the professional development of physicians. During this period of training, resident physicians are responsible for providing care to patients, participating in the education of medical students and other residents, engaging in scholarly activities, and serving as stewards for their own education. In carrying out these varied responsibilities, residents must adhere to the tenets of medical professionalism. Since medical practice is changing in ways that challenge those fundamental tenets, there are calls from both within and outside the profession for a renewed focus on professionalism in medicine. In keeping with this spirit, this statement affirms the responsibilities that residents have in their varied roles as care givers, teachers, learners, and colleagues. For each of these roles, resident physicians must be trustworthy and truthful throughout, and demonstrate unfailing integrity.

Care Givers

Our primary obligation is to the care of patients. Resident physicians must be compassionate and empathetic in caring for patients, and act at all times with integrity, honesty, respect for patients' privacy and their personal dignity.


Residents must strive continually to gather knowledge and must always evidence intellectual honesty. We must share our knowledge of medicine freely, and provide clinical instruction with diligence, patience, and respect for those entrusted to us.


Resident physicians must recognize and accept the limitations in our knowledge of medicine and clinical skills, and must be committed to continuous improvement through diligent study and life-long learning.


We must acknowledge and respect the roles of other health care professionals and staff working in the institutions in which we train, and be committed to working collaboratively with them. We must be dutiful in fulfilling our institutional obligations, as well as our contractual duties, as they impact patients and colleagues.

Important to the roles residents fulfill, we must be certain to attend to the following:

Care Givers

Provide the best healthcare available with regard to prevention, diagnosis, and treatment.

  • Serve as the primary advocate for our patients.
  • Encourage patients to actively participate in their own care.
  • Demonstrate awareness and sensitivity to patient diversity.
  • Provide compassionate support to patients and their families.


  • Promote the intellectual progress of peers, junior residents, and medical students.
  • Approach all available teaching opportunities enthusiastically and constructively.
  • Assess self and others fairly and objectively.
  • Educate patients to make informed medical decisions.
  • Provide community education and leadership.


  • Remain current with advances in medical knowledge.
  • Develop lifelong learning skills.
  • Appreciate the social, economic, and political factors impacting healthcare.
  • Utilize a balanced array of educational resources.
  • Cultivate an ability to critically assess the literature.


  • Respect the unique roles and viewpoints of other healthcare professionals.
  • Foster a supportive environment for fellow residents.
  • Prevent personal conflicts from interfering with patient care.
  • Recognize the impact of one's personal and professional behavior on colleagues.
  • Identify colleagues in need of personal assistance.