Professional virtue of civility and the responsibilities of medical educators and academic leaders

Journal of Medical Ethics 49 (10):674-678 (2023)
  Copy   BIBTEX


Incivility among physicians, between physicians and learners, and between physicians and nurses or other healthcare professionals has become commonplace. If allowed to continue unchecked by academic leaders and medical educators, incivility can cause personal psychological injury and seriously damage organisational culture. As such, incivility is a potent threat to professionalism. This paper uniquely draws on the history of professional ethics in medicine to provide a historically based, philosophical account of the professional virtue of civility. We use a two-step method of ethical reasoning, namely ethical analysis informed by pertinent prior work, followed by identifying the implications of clearly articulated ethical concepts, to meet these goals. The professional virtue of civility and the related concept of professional etiquette was first described by the English physician-ethicist Thomas Percival (1740–1804). Based on a historically informed philosophical account, we propose that the professional virtue of civility has cognitive, affective, behavioural and social components based on a commitment to excellence in scientific and clinical reasoning. Its practice prevents a dysfunctional organisational culture of incivility and sustains a civility-based organisational culture of professionalism. Medical educators and academic leaders are in a pivotal and powerful position to role model, promote and inculcate the professional virtue of civility as essential to an organisational culture of professionalism. Academic leaders should hold medical educators accountable for discharge of this indispensable professional responsibility.



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 91,271

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

The Fragility of Civility.Andrew Fiala - 2013 - Dialogue and Universalism 23 (3):109-122.
The Virtue of Civility.Cheshire Calhoun - 2000 - Philosophy and Public Affairs 29 (3):251-275.
Civility as political constraint.William A. Edmundson - 2002 - Res Publica 8 (3):217-229.


Added to PP

8 (#1,264,457)

6 months
5 (#592,531)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?