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Neurol Clin Pract. 2016 Jun;6(3):230-240.

Speaking the same language: Cross-sectional assessment of perceived contributors to professionalism across generations.

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Department of Neurology (RES, DS, RMES, TEC, CEG), Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD; and Hopkins Center for Health Disparities Solutions (RT) and Department of Health, Behavior, and Society (RT), Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD.



Professionalism is integral to medical training and practice. Recent studies suggest generational differences in perceptions of professionalism, which have not been adequately explored in academic neurology.


A cross-sectional study was performed to describe perceptions of professionalism among representative physicians across the academic training spectrum of neurology. A self-report questionnaire adapted from a published instrument was distributed to students, residents, fellows, and faculty in neurology at a single institution. Responders rated 4 domains of professionalism: Personal Characteristics, Interactions with Patients, Social Responsibility, and Interactions with the Health Care Team (5-point Likert scale, not at all important to very important), and selected the "top 2" characteristics critical to professional behavior in each domain.


A total of 296 of 312 (95%) responded, including 228 students, 24 residents, 19 fellows, and 25 faculty. Respondents ranked the following components to be important/very important contributors to the expression of professional behavior: Personal Characteristics (98%, mean rating 4.6 ± 0.3), Interactions with Patients (97%, 4.6 ± 0.4), and Interactions with the Health Care Team (96%, 4.6 ± 0.5). Although mean ratings were high for Social Responsibility (4.3 ± 0.6), only 82% indicated that this was important/very important in the expression of professionalism, with a gradual decline from students (4.4 ± 0.6) to residents (3.99 ± 0.8, p = 0.02). The "top 2" contributors to each domain were similar across responders.


Professionalism was perceived as critically important across the academic training spectrum in neurology, and the view regarding the top contributors to the expression of professionalism remained consistent among the respondents.

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