How Do Medical Schools Deal With Students’ Professionalism Lapses?

professionalism  Researchers interviewed education deans (response rate 61%) regarding their schools’ practices regarding lapses in professionalism.  A majority (80%) had written policies and procedures regarding unprofessional behavior on the part of medical students, but practices were quite variable.  Involvement of student affairs deans, course or clerkship directors, medical education deans, and promotions committees was commonly reported.  Several strategies for remediation were reported by more than 50% of interviewed deans:  mandated mental health evaluation; remediation curriculum or assignment (e.g. reflective writing); mandated professionalism mentor; stress management counseling; and repetition of all or part of the involved course or clerkship.  Many dean expressed concerns regarding feed-forward practices, lack of adequate reporting of professionalism lapses, and unclear criteria for successful remediation.  The authors suggest research to establish best practices in this important area. — Laura Willett, MD

Ziring D, Danoff D, Grosseman S, Langer D, Esposito A, Jan MK, Rosenzweig S, Novack D. How Do Medical Schools Identify and Remediate Professionalism Lapses in Medical Students? A Study of U.S. and Canadian Medical Schools. Acad Med. 2015

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