Medical Students’ Attitudes to Professionalism: an Opportunity for the GP Tutor?

Jennifer Laura Johnston, Margaret Elizabeth Cupples, Kieran John McGlade, Keith Steele
Submitted: September, 2011

Using a novel tool based on General Medical Council (GMC) standards, this cross-sectional survey aimed to assess UK medical students’ professional attitudes at different stages of the curriculum, and to investigate the influence of the hidden curriculum on these attitudes through exposure to unprofessional behaviour during the medical course. Response rate was 50.8% (363/714). Female (F=18.24, p < 0.001) and first year students (F=12.22, p < 0.001) had significantly higher ‘Attitudes to Professionalism’ scores. Professionalism scores for male students showed a significant stepwise decline from first year to fifth year. Fifth year students had significantly higher ‘Exposure to unprofessional behaviour’ scores (F=23.4, p < 0.001). Qualitative themes included bullying, lack of accountability and sexism.