Document Type : Original Article


1 College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Medical Education Center, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates

2 College of Medicine, University of Sharjah,

3 Department of Medicine and HIV Metabolic Clinic, Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, UK


INTRODUCTION: Professionalism is an essential theme in both undergraduate and postgraduate
medical education. The current study aimed to assess the preclerkship medical students’ perception
on medical professionalism.
METHODS: A cross‑sectional qualitative study using the critical incident technique was conducted at
the University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). An online survey was sent to 300 medical
students  (years 1–3). Participants were asked to describe an official doctor–patient encounter
that they have experienced in a health‑care setting and to highlight the professional behaviors
in that encounter. They were then requested to list the top five characteristics of a professional
doctor. Thirty (10%) medical students responded to the study; only 13 reported real incidents. The
responses were independently reviewed by the authors. The descriptions of the professional attitudes
were grouped according to the six domains of professionalism defined by the American Board of
Internal Medicine (ABIM) Physicians Charter and then plotted against the nine domains of medical
professionalism published in the UAE Consensus Statement.
RESULTS: The most common professional behaviors reported were patience, honesty, respect, and
patient care. The participants addressed all six domains of professionalism described by the ABIM
physicians charter (altruism, accountability, duty , excellence, honor and integrity, and respect for
others) and all the domains of medical professionalism published in the UAE Consensus Statement,
except for “commitment to advocacy” and “commitment to education” domains.
CONCLUSION: Preclerkship medical students had an insight about the professional behaviors
needed from doctors before formal teaching about professionalism in the curriculum.


1. Shrank WH, Reed VA, Jernstedt C. Fostering professionalism in
medical education. J Gen Intern Med 2004;19:887‑92.
2. Ho MJ, Al‑Eraky M. Professionalism in context: Insights from
the United Arab Emirates and beyond. J Grad Med Educ
3. American Association of Medical Colleges. Learning objectives
for medical student education – Guidelines for medical schools:
Report I of the medical school objectives project. Acad Med
4. Frank JR, Snell L, Sherbino J. CanMEDS 2015 Physician
Competency Framework. Royal College of Physicians and
Surgeons of Canada; 2015. Available from: http://file:///C:/
Users/sarra/Downloads/canmeds‑full‑framework‑e%20 (1).pdf.
[Last accessed on 2019 Sep 20].
5. Accreditation Commission for Graduate Medical Education.
ACGME Core Competencies; 2012. Avaliable from: https://www.‑core‑competencies.html. [Last accessed
on 2019 Sep 20].
6. Zaini RG, Bin Abdulrahman KA, Al‑Khotani AA, Al‑Hayani AM,
Al‑AlwanIA, JastaniahSD. Saudi Meds: Acompetence specification
for Saudi medical graduates. Med Teach 2011;33:582‑4.
7. Liaison Committee on Medical Education. Functions and
Structure of a Medical School Standards for Accreditation of
Medical Education Programs Leading to the MD Degree March;
2018. Avaliable from: [Last
accessed on 18 Sep 2019].
8. World Federation for Medical Education. Basic Medical Education
WFME Global Standards for Quality Improvement; 2015.
Avaliable from:
h=5def69f7529151575971319. [Last accessed on 2019 Sep 19].
9. Tsai TC, Lin CH, Harasym PH, Violato C. Students’ perception
on medical professionalism: The psychometric perspective. Med
Teach 2007;29:128‑34.
10. Birden HH, Usherwood T. “They liked it if you said you cried”:
How medical students perceive the teaching of professionalism.
Med J Aust 2013;199:406‑9.
11. Mann KV, Ruedy J, Millar N, Andreou P. Achievement of
non‑cognitive goals of undergraduate medical education:
Perceptions of medical students, residents, faculty and other
health professionals. Med Educ 2005;39:40‑8.
12. Al‑Eraky MM, Chandratilake M. How medical professionalism
is conceptualised in Arabian context: A validation study. Med
Teach 2012;34 Suppl 1:S90‑5.
13. Al‑Eraky MM, Chandratilake M, Wajid G, Donkers J,
van Merrienboer J. Medical professionalism: Development
and validation of the Arabian LAMPS. Med Teach
2013;35 Suppl 1:S56‑62.
14. Abdel‑Razig S, Ibrahim H, Alameri H, Hamdy H, Haleeqa KA,
Qayed KI, et al. Creating a framework for medical professionalism:
An initial consensus statement from an Arab Nation. J Grad Med
Educ 2016;8:165‑72.
15. Branch WT. Use of critical incident reports in medical education.
J Gen Intern Med 2005;20:1063‑7.
16. Jha V, Bekker HL, Duffy SR, Roberts TE. Perceptions of
professionalism in medicine: A qualitative study. Med Educ
17. VeloskiJJ, FieldsSK, BoexJR, BlankLL. Measuring professionalism: A review of studies with instruments reported in the literature
between 1982 and 2002. Acad Med 2005;80:366‑70.
18. Byszewski A, Hendelman W, McGuinty C, Moineau G. Wanted:
Role models‑medical students’ perceptions of professionalism.
BMC Med Educ 2012;12:115.
19. Wagner P, Hendrich J, Moseley G, Hudson V. Defining
medical professionalism: A qualitative study. Med Educ