Purpose: This paper reviews the origins of the learned professions, the foundational concepts of professionalism, and the common elements within various healer's oaths. It then reveals the development of the Murdoch Chiropractic Graduate Pledge. Methods: A committee comprised of three Murdoch academics performed literature searches on the topic of professionalism and healer's oaths and utilized the Quaker consensus process to develop the Murdoch Chiropractic Graduate Pledge. Results: The committee in its deliberations utilized over 200 relevant papers and textbooks to formulate the Murdoch Chiropractic Graduate Pledge that was administered to the 2010 Murdoch School of Chiropractic and Sports Science graduates. The School of Chiropractic and Sports Science included professionalism as one of its strategic goals and began the process of curriculum review to align it with the goal of providing a curriculum that recognizes and emphasizes the development of professionalism. Conclusions: The reciting of a healer's oath such as the Hippocratic Oath is widely considered to be the first step in a new doctor's career. It is seen as the affirmation that a newly trained health care provider will use his or her newfound knowledge and skill exclusively for the benefit of mankind in an ethical manner. Born from the very meaning of the word profession, the tradition of recitation of a healer's oath is resurgent in health care. It is important for health care instructors to understand that the curriculum must be such that it contributes positively to the students' professional development.
About the Authors
J. Keith Simpson, Barrett Losco, and Kenneth J. Young are with the Murdoch University School of Chiropractic and Sports Science.