Professionalism and Honor Code


The Embodiment of Professionalism

The history of medicine and science is replete with calls for professional conduct. Increasing attention is being focused on professionalism as the health care system adapts to a number of societal, scientific and financial stresses. Many professional groups are renewing their emphasis on and measurement of professionalism. The American Board of Internal Medicine, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and IUSM Curriculum Council with identification of professionalism as one of the six competencies are among the groups that have published statements on professionalism. In Academic Medicine, Swick identifies desirable behaviors to include conduct that demonstrates an individual:

  • Subordinates their own interests to the interests of others.
  • Adheres to high ethical and moral standards.
  • Responds to societal needs, and their behaviors reflect a social contract with the communities served.
  • Evinces core humanistic values, including honesty and integrity, caring and compassion, altruism and empathy, respect for others, and trustworthiness.
  • Exercises accountability for themselves and for their colleagues.
  • Demonstrates a lifelong commitment to excellence.
  • Exhibits a commitment to scholarship and to advancing their field.
  • Deals with high levels of complexity and uncertainty.
  • Reflects upon their actions and decisions.

Swick also states that professionalism must be grounded in what individuals actually do and how they act, both individually and collectively. He asserts that professionalism consists of "those behaviors by which we demonstrate that we are worthy of the trust bestowed upon us by our patients and the public, because we are working for the patients' and the public's good." Members of the IUSM community echo and affirm these principles.

To be recognized as a premiere medical school requires exceptional and committed individuals. A working and learning culture that is based upon our articulated core values and guiding principles is a key element in realizing our mission and vision. Moreover, it is critical to attracting, retaining, and nurturing the members of the IUSM community. For this reason, and to warrant the trust bestowed upon us by patients, families and society at large, all members of the IUSM community are committed to fostering and embodying professionalism as engendered by adherence to our core values and guiding principles.

Honor Code

Embarking on a career in the life sciences and health care professions means accepting the responsibilities and unique privileges of these professions. These include self-monitoring and self-governance, and the responsibilities for these professional duties begin the moment that an individual starts medical school or graduate school. I understand that it is a great honor and privilege to study and work in the health care profession. As a member of the Indiana University School of Medicine community, I promise to uphold the highest standards of ethical and compassionate behavior while learning, caring for others, performing research, and/or participating in educational activities. I do so according to the following tenets that will guide me through my career. I will strive to uphold the spirit and the letter of this code during my years at Indiana University School of Medicine and throughout my career in the health professions.


  • I will maintain the highest standards of honesty.
  • If engaged in research, I will conduct these activities in an unbiased manner, report the results truthfully, and credit ideas developed and worked on by others.
  • If engaged in patient care, I will be considerate and truthful, and will accurately report all historical and physical findings, test results, and other pertinent information.


  • I will conduct myself professionally.
  • I will take responsibility for what I say and do.
  • I will recognize my own limitations and will seek help when appropriate.


  • I will respect the dignity of others, treating them with civility and understanding.
  • I will contribute to creating a safe and supportive atmosphere for teaching and learning.
  • I will regard privacy and confidentiality as core obligations.
  • I will not tolerate discrimination.

Expectations of the University and your colleagues

Indiana University School of Medicine promises to create a professional environment that fosters excellence, abhors intolerance, and values each individual's unique contribution to our learning community.

The IU School of Medicine upholds our commitment to professionalism via our institutional learning objectives on Professionalism and the Honor Code.