Assessment of Professionalism in Undergraduate Medical Students

Anthony J. O'Sullivan, Susan M. Toohey
Submitted: June, 2008

The aim of this study was to determine whether specific aspects of professionalism were underdeveloped in medical students. A questionnaire with 24 vignettes was taken by Year 2, 4, and 6 medical students and their responses were compared to responses from practicing Medical Academics. Second, fourth and sixth Year medical students’ responses differed from Academics in two aspects of professionalism, firstly, high ethical and moral standards and secondly, humanistic values such as integrity and honesty. Only Year 2 medical students’ responses were different from Academics when it came to responsibility and accountability. It appears from this study that certain aspects of professionalism seem to be underdeveloped in medical students. These aspects of professionalism may need to be targeted for teaching and assessment in order that students develop as professionally responsible practitioners.