Early detection and evaluation of professionalism deficiencies in medical students: one school's approach

Acad Med. 2001 Nov;76(11):1100-6. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200111000-00010.


Since 1995, the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine has monitored students' professional behaviors in their third and fourth years. The authors recognized that several students with professionalism deficiencies during their clerkships had manifested problematic behaviors earlier in medical school. They also observed behaviors of concern--such as inappropriate behavior in small groups--in some first- and second-year students who could have been helped by early remediation. The authors describe the modifications to the evaluation system to bring professionalism issues to a student's attention in a new, earlier, and heightened way. In this new system for first- and second-year students, the course director of a student who has professionalism deficiencies submits a Physicianship Evaluation Form to the associate dean for student affairs, who then meets with the student to identify the problematic issues, to counsel, and to remediate. The student's behavior is monitored throughout the academic years. If the student receives two or more forms during the first two years and a subsequent form in the third or fourth year, this indicates a persistent pattern of inappropriate behavior. Then the physicianship problem is described in the dean's letter of recommendation for residency and the student is placed on academic probation. The student may be eligible for academic dismissal from school even if he or she has passing grades in all courses. The authors describe their experience with this system, discuss lessons learned, and review future plans to expand the system to deal with residents' mistreatment of students.

MeSH terms

  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Behavior
  • Ethics, Medical
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations*
  • Professional Misconduct*
  • Students, Medical*
  • Task Performance and Analysis*
  • Time Factors