The purpose of this study is to analyze the current attitudes toward professionalism, the core values, and the type of professionalism among plastic surgeons in Korea to establish a code of ethics regarding the role of professionalism for plastic and reconstructive surgeons.
From March 9, to July 1, 2012, face-to-face and mail surveys were conducted targeting the 325 participants (256 specialists and 69 residents) who are registered members of the Korean Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons. The proportion of each response given to an item was obtained through statistical processing through frequency analysis. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to compare the differences in the responses between the resident group and the specialist group.
The survey results on the perception of professionalism in plastic surgery showed that a high proportion (90.5%) of the respondents viewed the future of plastic surgeons as bright. Through evaluation of the importance of the value items,"professional dominance" (4.58 pts), "autonomy" (4.45 pts), "lifestyle" (4.34 pts), and "commercialism" (4.31 pts) were assessed as critical values. "Altruism" (3.84 pts), "interpersonal competence" (3.79 pts), and "social justice" (3.61 pts) were viewed as lesser values. This difference showed the characteristics of an entrepreneurial outlook.
Plastic surgeons should pursue excellence, humanism, accountability, and altruism in order to overcome the crisis of professionalism in plastic surgery. In order to develop the necessary competencies of professionals, vocational education should be arranged by the Korean Society of Plastic Surgeons, and an appropriate code of ethics should be established.