Objective: To assess the response of medical students towards different elements of professionalism, after its formal teaching and to explore the views of students about the effectiveness of various strategies used to teach professionalism and how to improve them.
Study Design: A two phase explanatory-sequential mixed method study by using a quantitative survey followed by qualitative phenomenological design.
Place and Duration of Study: Islamic International Medical College Rawalpindi, from Sep 2016 to Dec 2016.
Material and Methods: The Penn State College of Medicine Professionalism Questionnaire was used to gather the perceptions of MBBS students about the elements of professionalism after its formal training. Focused group discussions (FGDs) conducted to explore students’ understanding of the effectiveness of various strategies used to teach professionalism were audio recorded, transcribed and analyzed by thematic analysis with the software NVivo. Quantitative data was analyzed by SPSS version 21.
Results: There were 300 students. The mean age of students was 20.0 ± 1.55 years. Females were 67%. Eighty eight percent of students had FSc education and 12% had completed A levels. The medical students of all four MBBS classes considered the six attributes of professionalism as important. The Cronbach alpha value for all the elements of professionalism in four classes was above 0.75. Mean scores calculated for the elements of professionalism for the first, second, third and fourth year students was 145.66 (± 21.05), 130.98 (± 24.67), 121.09 (±17.13) and 151.34 (±12.28) respectively. There were significant differences in the mean scores among four classes of MBBS (p=0.000). Role modeling was determined to be the most effective and useful method to inculcate professionalism among medical students. In two focused group discussions six major themes were identified by the students including; professionalism training, role modeling, faculty development, mentoring, student to student counseling, and assessment of professionalism.
Conclusion: A robust curriculum with explicit teaching of professionalism does not only uphold and maintain the pre-training values of medical students but also brings about a significant improvement in their attitudes pertaining to professionalism. The students recognize role modelling to be the most effective method in developing professionalism. They perceive that teaching strategies based on role modelling, formal mentoring, faculty development and formal assessment plan can improve the training of professionalism.
Keywords : Curriculum, Medical education, Medical students, Perceptions, Professionalism.