Using Standardized Patients to Assess Medical Students’ Professionalism.

Prislin, M D, Lie, D, Shapiro, J, Boker, J, Radecki, S

The subject of professionalism is currently engendering great interest within the medical education community. Concern exists that conditions within the health care delivery environment threaten established standards of professional behavior, and, perhaps more insidiously, that the medical education experience itself may be negatively influencing the development of physicians’ professionalism. As a consequence, much energy has recently been directed toward defining competencies that reflect professionalism and in creating corresponding curricula that will foster learning in this domain.

However, having instruments that can accurately measure the attainment of professionalism remains an elusive goal. This study examines the utility of standardized patient-based assessments of professional characteristics. Comparisons are made with other measures of professionalism, such as faculty evaluation, performance on a written self-reflective exercise, and student-reported participation in community service activities.

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