Professionalism in medical education: the development and validation of a survey instrument to assess attitudes toward professionalism

Med Teach. 2007 Mar;29(2-3):e58-62. doi: 10.1080/01421590601044984.


Background and aim: This study examined attitudes toward professionalism in an academic medical center. The paper will describe the development and factorial validity of an instrument to measure attitudes toward professionalism in medical education among students, residents and faculty.

Methods: A factor analysis of the intercorrelations of responses to 36 items reflecting the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) elements of professionalism for a sample of 765 medical students, residents and faculty was carried out. Data were collected during the spring of 2004. The study was conducted at the Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, PA, USA.

Results: Main outcome measures include internal consistency reliability estimates (Cronbach's alpha) for each element of professionalism and a principal components analysis of the intercorrelations of responses to the 36 items in the questionnaire. Analysis of responses reveals seven identifiable factors of professionalism: accountability, altruism, duty, enrichment, equity, honor and integrity, and respect.

Conclusions: The Penn State College of Medicine Professionalism Questionnaire is one of the first valid and reliable surveys of attitudes among medical students, residents, and faculty that reflects seven elements of professionalism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Attitude of Health Personnel*
  • Education, Medical*
  • Factor Analysis, Statistical
  • Faculty
  • Humans
  • Internship and Residency
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Professional Competence*
  • Students, Medical / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires* / standards