We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Perspectives |

Professionalism A Piercing Dilemma FREE

Rebecca Lesto Shunk, MD
[+] Author Affiliations

Department of Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, and San Francisco VA Medical Center, San Francisco.

JAMA Intern Med. 2013;173(6):406. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2744.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

While interviewing for a junior faculty position at a very prestigious academic medical center, I attended morning report. I do not remember the clinical case, but the female chief resident who was leading the report made a lasting impression. She was wearing pants and a short top that allowed a belly button ring to be prominently displayed. Maybe management of the case had been superb and the discussion, sublime, but I could not concentrate and began to doubt the caliber of the program. I imagined what kind of trainees would have such little respect for their patients and what kind of faculty (would-be colleagues) would not admonish such attire? Is not the doubt that I felt the same doubt that patients feel when they encounter a health care provider with unprofessional grooming or attire?

While I do not personally have piercings other than in my ears, I do understand there are many who do. Maybe I am old fashioned, but I think the dress and appearance of health care providers should demonstrate professionalism and support a serious and sacred pact with our patients. By dressing and appearing professionally, we validate the significance of the relationship, acknowledging that we are not their barista, but a person to whom the patient entrusts their most private thoughts and concerns.


Correspondence: Dr Shunk, San Francisco VA Medical Center, 4150 Clement St, San Francisco, CA 94121 (rebecca.shunk@va.gov).

Published Online: February 18, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2013.2744

Conflict of Interest Disclosures: None reported.





Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

See Also...
Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles

Care at the Close of Life: Evidence and Experience
Professional Identity