As volunteers on medical/educational missions with GO-MED, we represent both our professions and our home communities. Each individual must therefore be personally accountable for his/her actions in the country chosen for a mission. And each must support the values contained in the vision and mission statements of GO-MED as well as those stated in these guiding principles of
Professionalism is not about the job we do. It’s about the way we do it. GO-MED team members take pride in what we do, whether we are physicians, nurses, educators or support staff. It’s really an attitude!
We value and respect those with whom we work as well as those we serve. We will share our expertise whenever possible, without patronizing those who have not had our opportunities, and we will be open to learn from our hosts.
While we may be seen as experts in our own fields, we remain open to new ideas and we are always looking for better ways to do things. And sometimes those better ideas may come from others.
Team members are flexible and adaptable when confronted by limitations, and we enjoy the challenge of working in less than ideal conditions.
Professional ethics are a set of moral principles or rules of conduct adopted for a particular form of work, and as professionals we will apply these ethics consistently in the treatment of all our patients.
We will attempt to maintain Canadian professional standards, but we acknowledge that there may be times when we have to adapt to local conditions and simply do the best we can. Regardless, patient health and safety will always remain our prime concern.
We will be collaborative and we will support each other as would the members of a championship team, recognizing that the whole is greater than the sum of its individual parts.
We recognize that we will be representing our professions and our home communities, and that we will be seen by some as role models. We will therefore conduct ourselves in a manner that we would expect of others in our position; with dignity, honesty and integrity, whether it is during our work periods or our recreation time.
While we are likely to encounter periods of being very busy and under some stress, we will be observant of those around us, particularly our patients and those whom we are trying to help. Their needs are likely to be far greater than our own.
Although the country we visit may seem far away from our own (in both geographic and cultural distance), we are all neighbours on this small planet and we will treat the people we meet as if they lived next to us.
We will view cultural differences as a learning opportunity, and we will encourage friendship, understanding and compassion among those with whom we work. Unfamiliar situations will challenge our adaptability and openness, but we will be up to the task. We will respect those cultural differences and focus on what we have in common, rather than what makes us different.
We will look for the humour in adversity, and we will share that perspective with those with whom we work and those we serve. After all, laughter is the best medicine!
We will be courteous with our colleagues in the countries in which we serve. Even when we disagree with them, we will respect their opinions, beliefs, procedures and cultural practices. After all, it is their country and we are only guests.
We will recognize our own good fortune and we will therefore value, respect and enjoy each individual with whom we work or interact.
We will see ourselves as caretakers of this small planet, and in everything we do we will acknowledge the ultimate consequences of our actions. We will endeavour to leave a small footprint from our mission, but one that leads in a positive direction.
We will be sensitive to the emotional state of the patients we are serving by visualizing ourselves in their situations, acknowledging that fate has been kinder to us.