Professional Practice Framework

The Professional Practice Framework (the Framework) integrates medical expertise and professional skills, recognising that physicians will be experts in their field of practice and use a range of professional skills in order to work in partnership with patients, families, or carers.

10 Domains of professional practice

The Framework defines the 10 domains of professional practice for all physicians and forms the basis of the new RACP curriculum model.

Medical expertise

Physicians apply knowledge and skills informed by best available current evidence in the delivery of high-quality, safe practice to facilitate agreed health outcomes for individual patients and populations.


Physicians collate information, and share this information clearly, accurately, respectfully, responsibly, empathetically and in a manner that is understandable.

Physicians share information responsibly with patients, families, carers, colleagues, community groups, the public, and other stakeholders to facilitate optimal health outcomes.

Quality and safety

Physicians practice in a safe, high-quality manner within the limits of their expertise. Physicians regularly review and evaluate their own practice alongside peers and best practice standards and conduct continuous improvement activities.

Teaching and learning

Physicians demonstrate a lifelong commitment to excellence in practice through continuous learning and evaluating evidence. Physicians foster the learning of others in their profession through a commitment to mentoring, supervising, and teaching.1


Physicians support creation, dissemination and translation of knowledge and practices applicable to health.1 They do this by engaging with and critically appraising research and applying it in policy and practice to improve the health outcomes of patients and populations.

Cultural safety

Physicians engage in iterative and critical self-reflection of their own cultural identity, power, biases, prejudices and practising behaviours. Self-reflection and an understanding the cultural rights of the community a physician serves brings awareness and accountability for the impact of their own culture on decision-making and healthcare delivery. It also allows for an adaptive practice where power is shared between patients, family, whānau and/or community and the physician, to improve health outcomes.

Physicians recognise the patient and population’s rights for culturally safe care, including being an ally for patient, family, whānau and/or community autonomy and agency over their decision-making. This shift in the physician's perspective fosters collaborative and engaged therapeutic relationships, allows for strength-based (or mana-enhanced) decisions, and sharing of power with the recipient of the care to optimise health care outcomes.

Physicians critically analyse their environment to understand how colonialism, systemic racism, social determinants of health and other sources of inequity have and continue to underpin the healthcare context. Consequently, physicians then can recognise their interfacing with, and contribution to, the environment in which they work to advocate for safe, more equitable and decolonised services and create an inclusive and safe workplace for all colleagues and team members of all cultural backgrounds.2

Ethics and professional behaviour

Physicians' practice is founded upon ethics, and physicians always treat patients and their families in a caring and respectful manner. Physicians demonstrate their commitment and accountability to the health and well-being of individual patients, communities, populations and society through ethical practice.

Physicians demonstrate high standards of personal behaviour.

Judgement and decision making

Physicians collect and interpret information, and evaluate and synthesise evidence, to make the best possible decisions in their practice. Physicians negotiate, implement, and review their decisions and recommendations with patients, their families and carers, and other healthcare professionals.

Leadership management and teamwork

Physicians recognise, respect, and aim to develop the skills of others, and engage collaboratively to achieve optimal outcomes for patients and populations.

Physicians contribute to and make decisions about policy, protocols, and resource allocation at personal, professional, organisational, and societal levels.

Physicians work effectively in diverse multidisciplinary teams and promote a safe, productive, and respectful work environment that is free from discrimination, bullying, and harassment.

Health policy, systems and advocacy

Physicians apply their knowledge of the nature and attributes of local, national, and global health systems to their own practices. They identify, evaluate, and influence health determinants through local, national, and international policy. Physicians deliver and advocate for the best health outcomes for all patients and populations.

Professional Standards

For each domain of the Framework, a Professional Standard describes expectations for all graduates of RACP training programs. The Framework and Standards have been designed for application across the RACP's training and Continuing Professional Development programs.


  1. Adapted from Richardson D, Oswald A, Chan M-K, Lang ES, Harvey BJ. Scholar. In: Frank JR, Snell L, Sherbino J, editors. The Draft CanMEDS 2015 Physician Competency Framework – Series IV. Ottawa: The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada; 2015 March.
  2. Definition of cultural safety
    The RACP has adopted the Medical Council of New Zealand's definition of cultural safety (below):
    "Cultural safety can be defined as1:
  • The need for doctors to examine themselves and the potential impact of their own culture on clinical interactions and healthcare service delivery.
  • The commitment by individual doctors to acknowledge and address any of their own biases, attitudes, assumptions, stereotypes, prejudices, structures, and characteristics that may affect the quality of care provided.
  • The awareness that cultural safety encompasses a critical consciousness where healthcare professionals and healthcare organisations engage in ongoing self-reflection and self-awareness and hold themselves accountable for providing culturally safe care, as defined by the patient and their communities."
    1Curtis et al. “Why cultural safety rather than cultural competency is required to achieve health equity”. International Journal for Equity in Health (2019) 18:174

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