This post courtesy of Anne Taylor-Vaisey:
Three themes of professionalism: Medical Teacher 2004;26: 696-702[CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
Medical educators have focused a great deal of attention on professionalism in recent years without having a clear definition of the term. Researchers in Nijmegen attempted to define the term by reviewing and analysing the literature. They identified 90 elements of professionalism and described three main types of professionalism: interpersonal, public, and intrapersonal. They conclude that professionalism is a multidimensional concept, and they say that it is context dependentýÿin daily practice, doctors in one specialty will place more emphasis on some elements of professionalism than others.
Professional doctors are reflective and act ethically: Clinical Teacher 2004;1: 69-73
An article in a different journal offers a more precise definition of the mature medical professional: "a physician who is reflective and who acts ethically." It proposes that professionalism is the product of attainment (positive influences) and attrition (adverse effects of the environment) during training, and the author outlines measures to encourage the learning of professionalism.
How to predict professional behavior: Medical Education 2005;39: 75-82
Predicting the future professional behaviour of medical students is no easy task. Surprisingly, skills in communication and moral reasoning have not yet been correlated with future professional behaviour. Researchers in the United States have identified two observable measures that predict future professionalism: conscientious behaviour; and humility in self assessment in the preclinical years. Conscientious behaviour was measured by compliance with immunisation and course evaluation, and students who underestimated their own performance were considered to be reflecting humility.
Teaching may change attitudes toward disability: Medical Education 2005;39: 122-6, 176-83[CrossRef][ISI][Medline]
Attitudes towards disability are pertinent to an exploration of professionalism, but attitudes can be difficult to evaluate and it is not clear if they change as a result of formal teaching. Before and after a four day course on disability, medical students in Bristol were asked to write down two words that came to mind when they heard the word "disability." Before the course the students predominantly associated disability with negative words, but the short course seemed to change these associations.