Medical Council logoComhairle na nDochtúirí Leighis | Medical Council

Personal & Professional Interactions

In interactions with patients, you should -

  • Remember that your paramount responsibility at all times is to act in the best interests of patients.
  • Treat all patients with courtesy and respect for their dignity.
  • Respect the right of a patient to decline to be seen by a medical student.
  • Understand that patients should be offered the presence of a chaperone where an intimate examination is proposed.
  • Identify yourself by name, and as a medical student to patients and to patients’ relatives, friends and others.
  • Address adult patients formally, using their title and surname, unless invited by the patient to do otherwise.
  • When you are seeking verbal consent from patients for a minor procedure (i.e. obtaining a blood sample, taking an Electrocardiogram (ECG), etc.), ensure that it is a procedure with which you are very familiar and can explain fully to the patient. If in doubt about your understanding of the procedure, you should seek advice from your supervisor.
  • Listen to patients and respect their views.
  • Treat all patients equally, irrespective of the patient’s lifestyle, personal circumstances, culture, age, beliefs, ethnicity, country of origin, race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, social status, or economic worth.
  • Do not attempt to impose your personal views on patients, their relatives and friends.
  • Never abuse a patient’s trust, e.g. by establishing an improper personal, financial or sexual relationship with a patient or with their close relatives.
  • Treat a patient’s partner, relatives, friends and others sensitively and respectfully.
  • Inform an appropriate senior member of the staff of the academic or clinical setting if you believe that patient safety is being threatened or compromised by an incident or practice taking place in an academic or clinical setting; or if you believe that patient safety is being threatened or compromised by a colleague’s performance or behaviour.
  • If an adverse event occurs, you must inform your supervisor without delay.