Medical students’ opinions on professional behaviours: The Professionalism of Medical Students’ (PoMS) study

P. McGurgan, K. L. Calvert, K. Narula, A. Celenza, E. A. Nathan, C. Jorm

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: The Professionalism of Medical Students (PoMS) study aimed to develop a comprehensive understanding of Australian and New Zealand (Aus/NZ) medical students’ opinions and experience with professionalism dilemmas. Methods: A confidential, online survey for medical students was developed and distributed to all Aus/NZ medical schools. Students submitted de-identified demographic information, gave opinions on the acceptability of a range of student behaviours for professionally challenging situations, and whether they had encountered similar situations. Results: 3171 medical students participated from all 21 Aus/NZ medical schools (16% of the total student population). Medical students reported encountering many of the professionally challenging situations and had varying opinions on what was acceptable behaviour for the scenarios. In general, students’ opinions were not influenced by the seniority, gender or the type of health professional involved in the scenario. Participant demographic factors appeared to have significant effects on professional opinions–particularly male gender and being a student in the latter stages of the course. Discussion: Medical students’ professional opinions are a complex area. The PoMS data provides a reference point for students, their educators and other health professionals in identifying current student professional behaviour norms, determining the effects of demographic factors on their decision making, and where important gaps exist in medical students’ approaches to professionalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-350
Number of pages11
JournalMedical Teacher
Issue number3
Early online date18 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2020


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