Professionalism education should reflect reality: findings from three health professions

Burford, Bryan, Morrow, Gill, Rothwell, Charlotte, Carter, Madeline and Illing, Jan (2014) Professionalism education should reflect reality: findings from three health professions. Medical Education, 48 (4). pp. 361-374. ISSN 0308-0110

Full text not available from this repository.
Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/medu.12368

Abstract

Context: Despite a growing and influential literature, 'professionalism' remains conceptually unclear. A recent review identified three discourses of professionalism in the literature: the individual; the interpersonal, and the societal-institutional. Although all have credibility and empirical support, there are tensions among them.

Objectives: This paper considers how these discourses reflect the views of professionalism as they are expressed by students and educator-practitioners in three health care professions, and their implications for education.

Methods: Twenty focus groups were carried out with 112 participants, comprising trainee and educator paramedics, occupational therapists and podiatrists. The focus group discussions addressed participants' definitions of professionalism, the sources of their perceptions, examples of professional and unprofessional behaviour, and the point at which participants felt one became 'a professional'.

Results: Analysis found views of professionalism were complex, and varied within and between the professional groups. Participants' descriptions of professionalism related to the three discourses. Individual references were to beliefs or fundamental values formed early in life, and to professional identity, with professionalism as an aspect of the self. Interpersonal references indicated the definition of 'professional' behaviour is dependent on contextual factors, with the meta-skill of selecting an appropriate approach being fundamental. Societal-institutional references related to societal expectations, to organisational cultures (including management support), and to local work-group norms. These different views overlapped and combined in different ways, creating a complex picture of professionalism as something highly individual, but constrained or enabled by context. Professionalism is grown, not made.

Conclusions: The conceptual complexity identified in the findings suggests that the use of 'professionalism' as a descriptor, despite its vernacular accessibility, may be problematic in educational applications in which greater precision is necessary. It may be better to assume that 'professionalism' as a discrete construct does not exist per se, and to focus instead on specific skills, including the ability to identify appropriate behaviour, and the organisational requirements necessary to support those skills.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: B900 Others in Subjects allied to Medicine
X300 Academic studies in Education
Department: Faculties > Health and Life Sciences > Psychology
Depositing User: Paul Burns
Date Deposited: 24 Aug 2018 16:45
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2018 16:45
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/35497

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year

View more statistics


Policies: NRL Policies | NRL University Deposit Policy | NRL Deposit Licence