AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

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AMA Journal of Ethics®

Illuminating the art of medicine

Virtual Mentor. September 2000, Volume 2, Number 9.

Journal Discussion

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Teaching Professionalism in Undergraduate Medical Education

Readers are referred to an article in a 1999 issue of JAMA to discuss whether medical professionalism should be explicitly taught in medical schools and residency programs.

A new article or book chapter will be featured every month, accompanied by questions intended to guide readers along the path of ethical reasoning and to promote discussion.

Swick H, Szenas P, Danoff D, Whitcomb M. Teaching professionalism in undergraduate medical education. JAMA. 1999;282(9):830.

Questions for Discussion

Although a substantial majority of medical school programs have formal instruction in teaching professionalism, only a slight majority have an "explicit rigorous process to assess the students' professional behaviors." How do you think professionalism can be measured and assessed?

The article mentions that until recently students learned professionalism "through an informal process of socialization that extended from medical school through residency and fellowship training." Do you think that an explicit commitment to professionalism enhances this socialization process? Should faculty members make a more explicit commitment to professionalism in their teaching?

The viewpoints expressed on this site are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the AMA.