Changes in attitudes towards professionalism among medical students during clinical clerkship

Cherry T. Abu, Melflor A. Atienza


Background: Professionalism is a core competency of physicians, identified as one of the learning outcomes for the Doctor of Medicine program. In all the efforts geared towards supporting students develop high standards of professionalism through the 4-year course of medical education, perhaps the greatest gap is in assessment.

Objectives: The study aimed to determine how attitudes towards professionalism among medical students
change during clinical clerkship, which attitudes change, and if these changes are associated with certain
demographic factors and specific clinical rotations.

Methodology: This is a cohort study with a baseline and three consecutive measurements of attitudes
towards professionalism among students in a medical school as they rotated in the different clinical
departments for the first semester of AY 2018-2019. A 36-item questionnaire based on a validated instrument was used. Frequency counts, means, percentages, paired t-tests, analysis of variance, and chi-square were used to analyze the data.

Results: Overall, the attitudes towards professionalism among medical students were positive at baseline and did not significantly change through three consecutive clinical rotations. The scores were highest and most stable for altruism, accountability, and excellence. No association was found between any change in attitudes and certain demographic factors including age, gender, and pre-medical course, and specific clinical rotation.

Conclusion: No significant change in attitudes towards professionalism was found among fourth year medical students as they rotated through three consecutive clinical rotations. While many factors should be considered, this finding should prompt a comprehensive look at how clinical clerkship experiences actually educate for professionalism.


attitudes; professionalism; clerkship; clinical rotation

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Print ISSN: 2704-3517; Online ISSN: 2738-042X