A Blueprint to Assess Professionalism: Results of a Systematic Review

Tim Wilkinson, Winnie Wade, Doug Knock
Submitted: May, 2009

Professionalism is multidimensional, so a combination of assessment tools is required. In this 2007-2008 study, the authors aimed to match assessment tools to definable elements of professionalism and to identify gaps where professionalism elements are not well addressed by existing assessment tools. The authors conducted literature reviews of definitions of professionalism and of relevant assessment tools, clustered the definitions of professionalism into assessable components, and clustered assessment tools of a similar nature. Five clusters of professionalism were formed: adherence to ethical practice principles, effective interactions with patients and with people who are important to those patients, effective interactions with people working within the health system, reliability, and commitment to autonomous maintenance / improvement of competence in oneself, others, and systems. Nine clusters of assessment tools were identified: observed clinical encounters, collated views of coworkers, records of incidents of unprofessionalism, critical incident reports, simulations, paper-based t