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BMC Res Notes. 2014 Mar 15;7:150. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-7-150.

Attitudes of Pakistani and Pakistani heritage medical students regarding professionalism at a medical college in Karachi, Pakistan.

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  • 1Department of Community Medicine, Dow International Medical College, Dow University of Health Sciences, Karachi, Pakistan.



An increased interest in professionalism has been reported in the field of medical education due to concerns regarding deterioration of humanism and professional values in the teaching and practice of medicine. The primary aim of this study was to assess attitudes of Pakistani and Pakistani heritage students at a medical college in Pakistan about important elements of professionalism that an ideal medical doctor should possess. A further objective of the study was to determine students' preferred ways of learning professionalism.


A written survey was distributed to undergraduate medical students at a public sector medical college at Karachi, Pakistan in 2011. Using the Penn State College of Medicine (PSCOM) Professionalism Questionnaire, attitudes of medical students of semester 1, 5, and 8 regarding professionalism were assessed anonymously.


The mean age of the students was 21.11 ± 2.72 years. Forty-three percent of the respondents were male. Forty percent of the students held Pakistani citizenship. Thirty-five percent students were US citizens with Pakistani parents and twenty-five percent were Pakistani heritage students that had dual citizenships. No significant differences in the elements of professionalism (Accountability, Altruism, Duty, Excellence, Honesty & Integrity and Respect) mean scores or in the overall mean score of professionalism among the various classes were found. The total overall Cronbach alpha value for all elements of the professionalism in the selected classes was above 0.9. The most preferred methods for learning professionalism were role modeling by faculty, case based scenarios and role plays.


The students rated all the attributes of professionalism as important and there was no difference across the study years. The overall internal consistency of each element of professionalism was high in different classes. Faculty role models, case based scenarios and role plays may be used to teach professionalism. As a great majority of students were having a Pakistani heritage rather than complete Pakistani born and bred background, hence findings of the survey may not be taken as representative of typical Pakistani medical students.

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