Scoping Review of frequently highlighted attributes of Medical Professionalism in an Undergraduate Medical Education Context

Pak J Med Sci. Jul-Aug 2021;37(4):1221-1229. doi: 10.12669/pjms.37.4.4004.


Background and objectives: Medical Professionalism (MP) establishes the trust between society and doctors. We aimed at finding frequently highlighted qualities of MP in the literature.

Methods: We searched PubMed and Scopus for attributes of MP, using terms, "Professionalism," "Medical Students," and "Undergraduate Medical Education". We included English language, original research articles with MP attributes from the perspective of undergraduate medical education, any nationality, race, gender, and age range, as the central topic of the article. Papers published from January 1st 1986 to 29th February 2020 were included.

Results: From 1349 identified articles, finally, 18 were included, authored in 10 countries, collectively contributing to answering the scoping review question. Two themes were identified: (1) Nurturing of MP, 11 (61.11%) out of 18 included articles, highlighted "respect" as the most dominant attribute as it appeared in 6 (54.55%) out of 11 reviews, "communication" 5 (45.45 %) studies and "honesty" and "integrity" 4 (36.36%). (2) Assessment of MP, 7 (38.89%) studies, and majority, 4 (57.14 %) assessed MP using American Board of Internal Medicine's elements of MP, viz, "altruism, accountability, excellence, duty, honor and integrity, respect for others."

Conclusions: Themes exemplified MP's most discoursed issues. The attributes are frequently used worldwide. MP deliberates as a commitment toward the individual patient, society, and necessitates transforming from its present generic form to more explicit details.

Keywords: Frequently highlighted; Medical education; Medical professionalism; Medical students; Professionalism attributes; Undergraduate.

Publication types

  • Review