Can the Understanding of Professionalism in Medicine be Influenced by the Background of Trainees or Their Roles? [8C]

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This was a pilot study to investigate whether one’s background or training influences the understanding of medical professionalism.


An electronic survey was sent out to all trainees at Eastern Virginia Medical School. The survey included 25 questions; 12 background and 13 questions on professionalism related to ACGME.


329 out of 1229 learners completed the survey for a response rate of 26.7%. 22.8% noted general lack of professionalism in the work place. 4.5% did not know someone who exemplified professionalism. 20 learners reported they had been cited for lack of professionalism, 12 of whom considered themselves to portray good professionalism. Learners with military background were more likely to have had formal leadership training (56% vs 24%, p<0.001). Among all learners, allied health students were more likely to have had formal leadership training (42%) as compared to medical students (24%) and residents/fellows (21%) (p=0.014). Only 60% of responders agreed or strongly agreed that there was a correlation between ones professional behavior and patient outcomes. Most allied health (93%) agreed professionalism impacts patient outcome while only 74% of medical students and 57% of residents fellows agreed (p<0.001). 55% believed that formal training in professionalism is required. Only 16.9% of respondents were familiar with the ACGME guidelines on medical professionalism. Learners scored the competencies in terms of importance 1-5 (5 being most important). SBL and EBC competencies received lower mean scores than other competencies (3.8 and 4.3). Residents/Fellows rated professionalism lower than other learners (4.0 vs 4.3) (p=0.019).


The pilot demonstrated that understanding of Professionalism in the medical field is influenced by the background and role of trainees. Formal training in medical professionalism should be considered.

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