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Medical Professionalism: Conflicting Values for Tomorrow's Doctors

Borgstrom, Erica; Cohn, Simon and Barclay, Stephen (2010). Medical Professionalism: Conflicting Values for Tomorrow's Doctors. Journal of General Internal Medicine, 25(12) pp. 1330–1336.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11606-010-1485-8
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Abstract

Background
New values and practices associated with medical professionalism have created an increased interest in the concept. In the United Kingdom, it is a current concern in medical education and in the development of doctor appraisal and revalidation.
Objective
To investigate how final year medical students experience and interpret new values of professionalism as they emerge in relation to confronting dying patients and as they potentially conflict with older values that emerge through hidden dimensions of the curriculum.
Methods
Qualitative study using interpretative discourse analysis of anonymized student reflective portfolios. One hundred twenty-three final year undergraduate medical students (64 male and 59 female) from the University of Cambridge School of Clinical Medicine supplied 116 portfolios from general practice and 118 from hospital settings about patients receiving palliative or end of life care.
Results
Professional values were prevalent in all the portfolios. Students emphasised patient-centered, holistic care, synonymous with a more contemporary idea of professionalism, in conjunction with values associated with the ‘old’ model of professionalism that had not be directly taught to them. Integrating ‘new’ professional values was at times problematic. Three main areas of potential conflict were identified: ethical considerations, doctor-patient interaction and subjective boundaries. Students explicitly and implicitly discussed several tensions and described strategies to resolve them.
Conclusions
The conflicts outlined arise from the mix of values associated with different models of professionalism. Analysis indicates that ‘new’ models are not simply replacing existing elements. Whilst this analysis is of accounts from students within one UK medical school, the experience of conflict between different notions of professionalism and the three broad domains in which this conflict arises are relevant in other areas of medicine and in different national contexts.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2010 Society of General Internal Medicine
ISSN: 1525-1497
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Not SetNot SetJames Knott Family Trust
Keywords: medical professionalism; medical education; qualitative research; students’ reflections
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care > Health and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS) > Health, Wellbeing and Social Care
Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies (WELS)
Item ID: 46830
Depositing User: Erica Borgstrom
Date Deposited: 18 Aug 2016 09:18
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 12:22
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/46830
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