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Med Educ Online. 2019 Dec;24(1):1586507. doi: 10.1080/10872981.2019.1586507.

Learning medical professionalism - the application of appreciative inquiry and social media.

Author information

a Department of Family Medicine , Hualien Tzu Chi Hospital , Hualien , Taiwan.
b Department of Medical Humanities, School of Medicine , Tzu Chi University , Hualien , Taiwan.



Medical professionalism is often considered difficult to be clearly observed and learned. However, although most medical students or residents affirm the necessity of medical professionalism courses, few agree that those currently offered are adequate for a medical career.


To develop a curriculum for teaching professionalism by enabling students to share positive examples of professionalism in social media that reflects the authentic experience in clinical environment.


Between October 2015 and June 2017, the authors developed a clerkship program to teach professionalism with the support of social media and appreciative inquiry. Medical students were required to write posts on the positive behaviors they observed during clinical practice in the Facebook group. Other students and course instructors commented or responded to the posted content. The content on Facebook analyzed by course instructors and was based on the definition of medical professionalism according to the 18 attributes proposed by Cruess et al. Results: In total, 103 medical students in their first clinical year participated and posted 435 records of role model learning in the Facebook group. The majority of students learned the most when the clinical instructors were passionate about their teaching and guidance in medical expertise; this accounted for 23.0% of all role model behaviors. Other attributes of professionalism that students appreciated most were being caring and compassionate (17.2%), competence (9.6%), openness (8.8%), and presence (7.7%). More than 90% of the students reported enjoying this type of course and would like to integrate their learning experiences into future behavior.


This innovative training program was well accepted in the formal curriculum and the predesigned social media environment. Appreciative inquiry for medical professionalism should be integrated into the organizational culture and the culture of social media interaction.


Medical professionalism; appreciative inquiry; culture; social media

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