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Medical professionalism in ophthalmology: design and testing of a scenario based survey

  • Alkahtani, Eman1, 2
  • Assiri, Abdullah2, 3
  • Alrashaed, Saba2, 4
  • Alharbi, Mosa2, 5
  • Almotowa, Saeed2
  • Khandekar, Rajiv2
  • Edward, Deepak P.2, 6, 7
  • 1 The Eye Consultant Clinic, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia , Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
  • 2 King Khaled Eye Specialist Hospital, Riyadh, 11462, Saudi Arabia , Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
  • 3 Magrabi Eye Ear & Dental Hospital, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia , Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
  • 4 Dr. Sulman Alhabib Hospitals, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia , Riyadh (Saudi Arabia)
  • 5 The Eye Consultant Clinic, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia , Jeddah (Saudi Arabia)
  • 6 University of Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary, Chicago, IL, USA , Chicago (United States)
  • 7 Wilmer Eye Institute, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, USA , Baltimore (United States)
Published Article
BMC Medical Education
Springer (Biomed Central Ltd.)
Publication Date
May 19, 2020
DOI: 10.1186/s12909-020-02071-y
Springer Nature


BackgroundProfessionalism is hard to quantify but essential in medical practice. We present a survey tool for ophthalmologists that assessed professionalism using case-based scenarios in central Saudi Arabia.MethodsOphthalmologists (resident, fellows and consultants) participated in a web-based survey in 2015. Out of 44 attributes related to professionalism, experts selected 32 attributes with validity indices of ≥0.80. To evaluate these attributes, 51 scenario-based questions were developed and included in the survey. For each attribute, participants were given choices of close ended responses: unacceptable (1), probably unacceptable (2), acceptable (3), probably acceptable (4). The attribute score was compared to the gold standard (responses of an expert group). An attribute score was generated and compared among subgroups.ResultsOf the 155 ophthalmologists, responses of 147 ophthalmologists who completed more than 50% of questions were reviewed. Their mean attribute score was 84.1 ± 10.1 (Median 87.1; 25% quartile 78.1; minimum 50; and maximum 100). The variation in attribute score among consultants, fellows and resident ophthalmologists was significant (P = 0.008). The variation of attribute score by groups of attributes was also significant (P < 0.05). The score for ‘Personal characteristics’ was on a lower scale compared to that of other attribute groups. The variation in the scores for attribute groups; ‘Personal characteristics attribute’ group (p < 0.01) and ‘Workplace practices & relationship’ group (P = 0.03) for consultants, fellows and residents were significant.ConclusionsProfessionalism among ophthalmologists and those in training was high and influenced by years of experience. The survey tool appeared to show differences in responses to specific professional attribute groups between trainees and consultants. Additional studies with a larger sample size might be helpful in validating the survey as a tool to be used to assess professionalism in graduate medical education in ophthalmology.

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