The positive role of professionalism and ethics training in medical education: a comparison of medical student and resident perspectives

Acad Psychiatry. 2004 Fall;28(3):170-82. doi: 10.1176/appi.ap.28.3.170.


Objective: To assess the perspectives and preferences of medical students and residents regarding professionalism and ethics education.

Methods: A new written survey with 124 items (scale: "strongly disagree" = 1, "strongly agree" = 9) was sent to all medical students (n=308) and PGY 1-3 residents (n=233) at one academic center.

Results: Of the 336 participants (200 students, 65% response; 136 residents 58% response), only 18% found current professionalism and ethics preparation sufficient. Respondents endorsed professionalism (means=7.48 to 8.11) and ethics topics (means=6.56 to 6.87), women more so than men (p<0.05). Respondents preferred clinically- and expert-oriented learning over formal, nontraditional, or independent approaches (p<0.0001). They preferred clinically-oriented assessment methods (p<0.0001), residents more so than medical students (p<0.0001). On several items, psychiatry residents expressed greater receptiveness to professionalism and ethics preparation.

Conclusions: Medical students and residents indicate support for professionalism and ethics educational initiatives, including diverse curricular topics and clinically-attuned assessments.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude
  • Education, Medical / standards*
  • Ethics*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency*
  • Male
  • Professional Competence*
  • Professional Role*
  • Psychiatry / education*
  • Students, Medical*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Teaching*