Developing medical professionalism in future doctors: a systematic review

Vimmi Passi, Manjo Doug, Ed Peile, Jill Thistlethwaite and Neil Johnson

Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, UK

Submitted: 02/04/2010; Accepted: 30/04/2010; Published: 14/05/2010

Int J Med Educ. 2010; 1:19-29; doi: 10.5116/ijme.4bda.ca2a

© 2010 Vimmi Passi et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use of work provided the original work is properly cited.

Objectives: There are currently no guidelines on the most effective ways of supporting medical students to develop high standards of medical professionalism. The aim of this review is to summarise the evidence currently available on methods used by medical schools to promote medical professionalism.

Methods: We performed a systematic search of electronic databases (Medline, PsychInfo, British Education Index, Educational Resources Information Centre, Sociological Abstracts and Topics in Medical Education) from January 1998 to October 2008. Outcomes studied were methods used to support and promote the development of professionalism in medical students.

Results: We identified 134 papers and five main themes for supporting the development of professionalism in medical students: curriculum design, student selection, teaching and learning methods, role modelling and assessment methods. However, the level of empirical evidence supporting each of these methods is limited.

Conclusions: Identification of these five areas helps medical schools to focus the emphasis of their approaches to developing professionalism and identifies future research areas. This review offers a preliminary guide to future discovery and progress in the area of medical professionalism.