Teacher as role model in developing professional behavior of medical students: a qualitative study

Int J Med Educ. 2023 Apr 28;14:55-62. doi: 10.5116/ijme.6443.ae49.


Objectives: This study aimed to explore students' perspectives on the attributes of medical teachers as role models to students' professional behaviour in the educational process.

Methods: A phenomenological study was conducted to obtain participants' perceptions concerning the professional attributes of medical teachers. The participants were 21 final-year medical students in the School of Medicine, Universitas Gadjah Mada, who had completed and passed the national examination. The participants were recruited purposively to represent genders and performance (i.e., high-performing and average-performing students). The participants were divided into two focus groups based on their performance, each facilitated by non-teaching faculty members to avoid bias. Thematic analysis was conducted to analyze focus group transcripts by two independent coders. Codes were synthesized into themes related to the study aims.

Results: Seven themes were identified related to observed role model attributes, for instance, passionate lecturers, caring and empathetic, supportive and involving, objectivity, incompetence and compromising, poor communication and conflict, and time management. Subsequently, five themes were identified in participants' responses towards the observed role model, for instance, exemplary models, respect and motivating, confusion and inconvenience, avoiding and hate, and value collision and harmonization.

Conclusions: This study revealed a range of role model attributes and responded positively and negatively during learning encounters. As negative attributes are also prominent and observed by students, there is a need for medical schools to perform faculty development for the professional enhancement of medical teachers. Further study should be conducted to investigate the impact of role modelling on learning achievement and future medical practice.

Keywords: medical education; medical teacher; professionalism; role model.

MeSH terms

  • Education, Medical, Undergraduate* / methods
  • Faculty, Medical
  • Female
  • Focus Groups
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Qualitative Research
  • Students, Medical*