Journal of General Internal Medicine

, Volume 27, Issue 12, pp 1643–1648 | Cite as

Does Gender Moderate Medical Students’ Assessments of Unprofessional Behavior?

Original Research

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND

Despite widespread acceptance of professionalism as a clinical competency, the role of certain contextual factors in assessing certain behaviors remains unknown.

OBJECTIVE

To examine the potential moderating role of gender in assessing unprofessional behaviors during undergraduate medical training.

DESIGN

Randomized, anonymous, self-administered questionnaire.

PARTICIPANTS

Ninety seven (97) third-year students from a southeastern U.S. medical school (participation rate = 95.1 %).

MAIN MEASURES

Using a 4-point Likert-type scale, subjects reviewed two subsets of randomly administered, equally weighted hypothetical vignettes depicting potentially unprofessional behaviors that could occur during medical students’ clinical training. Ratings were categorized from 1 –“Not a Problem” to 4 –“A Severe Problem”, based on the perceived degree of unprofessionalism. In each written scenario, trainee gender was systematically varied.

KEY RESULTS

Across all scenario subsets, male and female students’ mean ratings of hypothetical behaviors did not differ significantly. Further, male and female students tended, on average, to rate behaviors similarly regardless of the trainee’s gender.

CONCLUSION

Study findings suggest that: (1) neither students’ gender nor that of the hypothetical “actor” moderates the assessment of unprofessional behaviors; and (2) male and female students assign roughly the same overall rankings to potentially unprofessional behaviors.

KEY WORDS

professionalism gender medical education unprofessional behavior 

Notes

Acknowledgements

A version of this paper was presented at the annual meetings of the Southern Group on Education Affairs (SGEA), April 15-17 (2010), Oklahoma City, OK.

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they do not have a conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11606_2012_2152_MOESM1_ESM.docx (18 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 17 kb)

REFERENCES

  1. 1.
    Stern DT, Papadakis M. The developing physician – becoming a professional. N Engl J Med. 2006;355:1794–1799.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Ginsburg S, Regehr G, Mylopoulos M. From behaviors to attributions: further concerns regarding the evaluation of professionalism. Med Educ. 2009;43:414–425.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Arnold L. Assessing professional behavior: yesterday, today and tomorrow. Acad Med. 2002;77:502–515.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Ginsburg S, Regehr G, Lingard L. Basing the evaluation of professionalism on observable behaviors: a cautionary tale. Acad Med. 2004;79(10 Suppl):S1–S4.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Epstein RM, Hundert EM. Defining and assessing professional competence. JAMA. 2002;287:226–235.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Ginsburg S, Regehr G, Hatala R, et al. Context, conflict and resolution: a new conceptual framework for evaluating professionalism. Acad Med. 2000;75(10 Suppl):S6–S11.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Brockbank S, David TJ, Patel L. Unprofessional behavior in medical students: a questionnaire-based pilot study comparing perceptions on the pubic with medical students and doctors. Med Teach. 2011;33:e501–e508.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Bonke B. Unprofessional or problematic behavior of medical students outside the learning environment. Med Teach. 2006;28:440–442.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Chretien KC, Greysen SR, Chretien JP, Kind T. Online posting of unprofessional content by medical students. JAMA. 2009;302:1309–1315.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Borges NJ, Manuel RS, Elam CL, Jones BJ. Comparing Millennial and Generation X medical students at one medical school. Acad Med. 2006;81:571–576.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Borges NJ, Manuel RS, Elam CL, Jones BJ. Differences in motives between Millennial and Generation X medical students. Med Educ. 2010;44:570–576.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Baldwin DC Jr, Daugherty SR, Rowley BD. Unethical and unprofessional conduct observed by residents during their first year of training. Acad Med. 1998;73:1195–1200.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Campbell EG, Regan S, Gruen RL, et al. Professionalism in medicine: results of a national survey of physicians. Ann Intern Med. 2007;147:795–802.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Ginsburg S, Regehr G, Lingard L. The disavowed curriculum: understanding students’ reasoning in professionally challenging situations. J Gen Intern Med. 2003;18:1015–1022.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Rees CE, Knight LV. Banning, detection, attribution, and reaction: the role of assessors in constructing students’ unprofessional behaviors. Med Educ. 2008;42:125–127.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hawkins RE, Katsufrakis PJ, Holtman MC, Clauser BE. Assessment of medical professionalism: who, what, when, where, how and.. why? Med Teach. 2009;31:348–361.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Hall JA, Roter DL, Blanch DC, Frankel RM. Nonverbal sensitivity in medical students: implications for clinical interactions. J Gen Intern Med. 2009;24:1217–1222.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Blanch DC, Hall JA, Roter DL, Frankel RM. Medical student gender and issues of confidence. Pat Educ Couns. 2008;72:374–381.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hatala R, Case SM. Examining the role of gender on medical students’ decision making. J Women’s Health Gend Based Med. 2000;9:617–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    van Zanten M, Boulet JR, Norcini JJ, McKinley D. Using a standardized patient assessment to measure professional attributes. Med Educ. 2005;39:20–29.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rentmeester CA, Brack AB, Kavan MG. Third and fourth year medical students’ attitudes about and experiences with callousness: the good, the bad and the ambiguous. Med Teach. 2007;29:358–364.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Elger BS. Factors influencing attitudes toward medical confidentiality among Swiss physicians. J Med Ethics. 2009;35:517–524.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Yates J, James D. Risk factors at medical school for subsequent professional misconduct: multicenter retrospective case-control study. BMJ. 2010;340:c2040. doi:10.1136/bmj.c2040.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Borrero S, McGinnis KA, McNeil M, Frank J, Conigliaro RL. Professionalism in residency training: is there a generation gap? Teach Learn Med. 2008;20:11–17.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Reddy ST, Farnan JM, Yoon JD, et al. Third-year medical students’ participation in and perceptions of unprofessional behaviors. Acad Med. 2007;82(10 Suppl):S35–S39.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Nath C, Schmidt R, Gunel E. Perceptions of professionalism vary most with educational rank and age. J Den Educ. 2006;70:825–834.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Pearson WG Jr, Hoagland TM. Measuring change in professional attitudes during the gross anatomy course. Anat Sci Educ. 2010;3:12–16.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Wilkinson TJ, Wade WB, Knock LD. A blueprint to assess professionalism: results of a systematic review. Acad Med. 2009;84:551–558.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Martimianakis MA, Maniate JM, Hodges BD. Sociological interpretations of professionalism. Med Educ. 2009;43:829–837.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    Arora VM, Wayne DB, Anderson RA, et al. Changes in perception of and participation in unprofessional behaviors during internship. Acad Med. 2010;85(10 Suppl):S76–S80.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. 31.
    Ginsburg SR, Regehr G, Mylopoulos M. Reasoning when it counts: students’ rationales for action on a professionalism exam. Acad Med. 2007;82(10 Suppl):S40–S43.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. 32.
    Ginsburg S, Lingard L. ‘Is that normal?’ Pre-clerkship students’ approaches to professional dilemmas. Med Educ. 2011;45:362–371.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 33.
    Zanetti M, Keller L, Mazor K, et al. Using standardized patients to assess professionalism: a generalizability study. Teach Learn Med. 2010;22:274–279.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 34.
    Thomas W. The Definition of the Situation. In: Rousseau N, ed. Self, Symbols, and Society: Classic Readings in Social Psychology. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield; 2002:103–115.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of General Internal Medicine 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Terry D. Stratton
    • 1
    • 2
  • Rosemarie L. Conigliaro
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral ScienceUniversity of Kentucky College of MedicineLexingtonUSA
  2. 2.Office of Medical EducationUniversity of Kentucky College of MedicineLexingtonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal MedicineUniversity of Kentucky College of MedicineLexingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations