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Can Professionalism Be Measured? The Development of a Scale for Use in the Medical Environment

Arnold Erin L. MD; Blank, Linda L.; Race, Kathryn E. H.; Cipparrone, Nancy
Academic Medicine: October 1998

PurposeTo assess a scale that measures professional attitudes and behaviors associated with the medical education and the residency training environment.

MethodIn 1995 96, the authors surveyed medical students and residents from five institutions in the northeast region of the United States.

ResultsOf 757 distributed questionnaires, 565 were returned (75% response rate). Of those, 529 (94%) were used in the analysis. The mean score for the retained 12 items was 92.9 (SD, 11.9), with higher scores indicating more positive perceptions. The internal reliability of the scale was moderately high (a =.71). A factor analysis identified three subscales: excellence, honor/integrity, and altruism/respect, with eigenvalues (alpha coefficients) of 3.18 (.72), 1.70 (.60), and 1.20 (.59), respectively.

ConclusionsThe results are interpreted as an encouraging first step toward the development of a reliable scale that measures professionalism within the environment of medical education and residency training.

© 1998 Association of American Medical Colleges