Medical professionalism: what does the public think?

Chandratilake, M., McAleer, S., Gibson, J., Roff, S.
Submitted: August, 2010

Patient survey on attributes of professionalism viewed increasingly as a social contract. Investigated the importance placed by the general public on doctors’ professional attributes. A quota sample of 953 responded to a 55-item online inventory of professional attributes. The quotas closely represented the national census. The majority of the highly important attributes focused on the relationship with patients. Statistically, the responses emerged as a three-facet model (clinicianship, workmanship and citizenship) of medical professionalism. The general public did not equate professionalism with social standing, wealth production, physique or appearance. They recognized doctors as professionals by their good behavior, high values and positive attitudes as clinicians, workmen and citizens. Although, their preference of professional attributes varied with the setting, e.g. patient consultation, working with others and behaving in society, they expected doctors to be confident, reliable, dependable, composed, accountable and d