Background: The main purpose of this study was to identify and understand the structure of latent traits underlying the concept of medical professionalism of Taiwanese students. Methods: A 32 item questionnaire assessing medical professionalism derived from the definition by the American Board Internal Medicine (ABIM) was distributed to 133 year seven medical students. A five-point rating scale of importance was used to identify the extent of their values or beliefs in each item. Results: The three items perceived most important were: accountability to patients, respect for patients and their families; and integrity and prudence. The least important component underlying professionalism was 'enduring unavoidable risks to oneself when a patient's welfare is at stake'. Factor analysis resulted in eight factors: 'commitment to care' (factor 1); 'righteous and rule-abiding' (factor 2); 'pursuing quality patient care' (factor 3), 'habit of professional practice' (factor 4); 'interpersonal relationship' (factor 5); 'patient-oriented' issues (factor 6); physician's 'self-development' (factor 7); and finally, 'respect for others' (factor 8). Most of the variance was contributed by factor 1 (34.9%). The mean score of factors ranged from 3.84 (factor 1: commitment to care) to 4.7 (factor 8: respect of others), and the reliability alphas ranged from 0.86 to 0.66. Conclusions: These results of young physicians' professional values have implications for medical school curriculum for improvement.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
TSUEN-CHIUAN TSAI is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Associated Director of the Department of Education and Research in Taipei Medical University Wan-Fang Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan. CHYI-HER LIN is Professor of Pediatrics and Associated Dean in National Cheng Kung University Medical College, Tainan, Taiwan PETER H. HARASYM is Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences and Medical Education and Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada. CLAUDIO VIOLATO is Professor in the Department of Community Health Sciences and Director in the Medical Education and Research Unit, Faculty of Medicine, University of Calgary, Canada.