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Assessment of medical professionalism: preliminary results of a qualitative study

  • Fong, Warren1, 2, 3, 4
  • Kwan, Yu Heng2
  • Yoon, Sungwon2
  • Phang, Jie Kie1
  • Thumboo, Julian1, 3, 2
  • Leung, Ying Ying1, 2, 3
  • Ng, Swee Cheng1, 2
  • 1 Singapore General Hospital, Singapore, Singapore , Singapore (Singapore)
  • 2 Duke-NUS Medical School, Singapore, Singapore , Singapore (Singapore)
  • 3 National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore , Singapore (Singapore)
  • 4 SingHealth Rheumatology Senior Residency Programme, 20 College Road, Singapore, 169856, Singapore , Singapore (Singapore)
Published Article
BMC Medical Education
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
Jan 30, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-020-1943-x
Springer Nature


BackgroundThe importance of medical professionalism has been well documented in the literature. Cultural background affects the constituents of professionalism. However, few studies have explored the domains of medical professionalism in an Asian context. We aim to describe the views and experiences of both patients and faculty on medical professionalism in an urban Asian city state.MethodsData for this qualitative study were collected through focus group discussions (FGDs) with patients and in-depth interviews (IDIs) with faculty members. The IDIs and FGDs were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Thematic analysis was conducted by two independent coders using a priori framework derived from Professionalism Mini Evaluation Exercise (P-MEX). Sociodemographic data of faculty members and patients were obtained through brief questionnaires.ResultsA total of 31 patients (58.1% male, all had visited healthcare facilities within the past year) and 26 faculty members (42.3% male, 38.5% from medical disciplines, median years as faculty is 11) participated in this study. The results supported the four domains of medical professionalism - Doctor-patient relationship skills, Reflective skills, Time management and Inter-professional relationship skills. Two new sub-domains which emerged from data were (1) communicated effectively with patient and (2) demonstrated collegiality.ConclusionsThe domains of professionalism in Singapore were similar to previous studies. This study allows a better understanding of medical professionalism to enhance the assessment and ultimately, the teaching of medical professionalism in an urban multi-ethnic Asian city.

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