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Med Teach. 2016 Nov;38(11):1139-1145. Epub 2016 Apr 18.

The impact of positive doctor role modeling.

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a Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick , Coventry , UK.
b Faculty of Health and Medicine , Lancaster University , Lancaster , UK.



Role modeling has been highlighted as an important teaching and learning strategy. The aim of this research study was to explore the influences and impact of positive doctor role modelling in twenty-first century medical education.


This study was part of a larger study investigating the process of positive doctor role modeling in medical education. 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 approach of Strauss and Corbin was then used to explore the impact of modeling in medical education.


Three main outcomes of role modeling were identified - the development of professional behaviors, the development of professional identity, and the shaping of career aspirations.


This study illustrates the powerful, often subconscious impact of doctor role modeling in medical education. This research illustrates that role models are critically important in the professional development, character development, and career development of the modelees. In this way, role modeling effectively enhances the transformation of the student to a doctor.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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