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Med Teach. 2016 Jul;38(7):700-7. doi: 10.3109/0142159X.2015.1087482. Epub 2015 Nov 2.

The hidden process of positive doctor role modelling.

Author information

a Warwick Medical School , UK .
b Lancaster University , UK.



Role modelling is highlighted as an important phenomenon. The aim of this research study was to explore the process of positive doctor role modelling.


This study used focus group interviews with 52 medical students, semi-structured interviews with 25 consultants and interviews after clinics with five consultants and five medical students. A qualitative methodology using the grounded theory inquiry approach of Strauss and Corbin was then used to generate an explanation of the process of modelling.


Role modelling is a process that involves conscious and subconscious elements and consists of an exposure phase followed by an evolution phase: The exposure phase involves demonstration of the attributes by the doctor role models. The evolution phase begins with observation of the role model, following which the modellee makes a judgement whether to trial the observed behaviours; when the decision to trial is reached, this then leads to a model-trialling cycle.


This research study generated a detailed explanation of the process of doctor role modelling. It is aspired that this can now be incorporated into medical curricula worldwide to enhance the development of the doctor role model and the professional development of the modellee.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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