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Socialization to professionalism in medical schools: a Canadian experience

Socialization to professionalism in medical schools: a Canadian experience

Bmc Medical Education 15: 204

Accrediting bodies now recognize the importance of developing the professionalism competency, by setting standards that require medical schools to identify where professionalism is addressed and how it is evaluated within the formal curriculum. The objective of this study was to compare how professionalism competency is formally addressed in the curricula of Canadian medical schools, and to better understand the Canadian approach to reporting and remediation of lapses. A literature review was performed and with the input of the AFMC(Association of Faculties of Medicine of Canada) Professionalism group, questionnaires were generated. An electronic survey was circulated to key leaders across the country at all the medical schools. In-depth telephone interviews were used to further explore themes, and a subsequent focus group was held to discuss challenges, particularly related to reporting and remediation. The preponderance of formal professionalism teaching remains in the form of lectures and small group sessions in the preclinical years. Formal teaching declines significantly in the clerkship/clinical years. Evaluation is usually performed by a clinical supervisor, but OSCE, portfolio, and concern notes are increasingly used. Role modeling is heavily relied upon in clinical years, suggesting faculty training can help ensure clinical teachers recognize their influence on trainees. Formal remediation strategies are in place at most schools, and often involve essay writing, reflection exercises, or completion of learning modules about professionalism. Lack of clarity on what defines a lapse and fear of reprisal (for both trainees and faculty) limits reporting. This study provides an overview of how professional identity formation is supported in the Canadian context, guided by the standards set out by CanMEDS. Despite a rich literature that describes the definition, program design and evaluation methods for professionalism, in some areas of the curriculum there is still an opportunity to ensure programs embrace the suggested framework. Examples of teaching and evaluation methods, deficiencies in the clinical years of study (clerkship) and challenges in addressing lapses and organizational structure are identified. The results help identify the gaps that need to be addressed and some solutions that can be modeled at other academic institutions.

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Accession: 058872948

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PMID: 26577466

DOI: 10.1186/s12909-015-0486-z

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