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Student and resident perspectives on professionalism: beliefs, challenges, and suggested teaching strategies

Abraham A. Salinas-Miranda1, Emily J. Shaffer-Hudkins2, Kathy L. Bradley-Klug2 and Alicia D.H. Monroe3

1Community and Family Health Department, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, USA

2School of Psychology, College of Education, University of South Florida, USA

3Academic Affairs and Faculty Development, Baylor College of Medicine, USA

Submitted: 30/10/2013; Accepted: 27/03/2014; Published: 10/05/2014

Int J Med Educ. 2014; 5:87-94; doi: 10.5116/ijme.5334.7c8d

© 2014 Abraham A. Salinas-Miranda 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. http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the views of medical students and residents regarding the practice of professionalism, their perceived challenges, and ideas for the development of a new curriculum in medical professionalism.

Methods: Data were collected from four focus groups comprised of 27 residents and medical students recruited from the University of South Florida Morsani School of Medicine and Residency Programs between January and March 2012. A questioning protocol was used to guide the focus group discussion. Data were transcribed for thematic analysis.

Results: Learners expressed beliefs regarding key attributes of professional behaviors, factors perceived to be associated with lapses of professional behavior, skills that need to be taught, and strategies to teach professionalism from the learners' perspective. Learners perceived that the values of professionalism are often disconnected from the reality evidenced in clinical training due to a myriad of personal and contextual challenges.

Conclusions: Residents and students need help in negotiating some of the challenges to medical professionalism that are encountered in clinical settings. We recommend a learner's centered model of curriculum development in medical professionalism that takes into consideration perceived challenges and strategies for modeling and reinforcing medical professionalism.