Nurturing professionalism in medical schools. A systematic scoping review of training curricula between 1990-2019

Med Teach. 2020 Jun;42(6):636-649. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2020.1724921. Epub 2020 Feb 17.


Introduction: Professionalism is an evolving, socioculturally informed multidimensional construct that influences doctor-patient relationships, patient satisfaction and care outcomes. However, despite its clinical significance there is little consistency in how professionalism is nurtured amongst medical students. To address this gap a systemic scoping review of nurturing professionalism in medical schools, is proposed.Methods: Levac's framework and the PRISMA-P 2015 checklist underpinned a 6-stage systematic review protocol. Concurrent use of Braun and Clarke's approach to thematic analysis and directed content analysis was used to identify the key elements in nurturing professionalism.Results: 13921 abstracts were identified from six databases, 854 full-text articles reviewed, and 162 full-text included articles were included. The 4 themes identified through thematic analysis are consistent with findings of the directed content analysis. These were the definition of professionalism, the approaches, content, barriers and enablers to teaching professionalism.Conclusion: Informed by a viable definition of professionalism and clear milestones nurturing professionalism nurturing professionalism begins with culturally appropriate training in clinical competence, humanistic qualities and reflective capacity. This process requires effective evaluations of professional identity formation, and the impact of the learning environment underlining the need for longitudinal assessments of the training process.

Keywords: Medical professionalism; medical education; medical students; professionalism training.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Curriculum
  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate*
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Professionalism
  • Schools, Medical
  • Students, Medical*
  • Systematic Reviews as Topic