"They liked it if you said you cried": how medical students perceive the teaching of professionalism

Tom R Sutherland
Med J Aust 2014; 200 (1): . || doi: 10.5694/mja13.11210
Published online: 20 January 2014

To the Editor: The article by Birden and Usherwood1 presents a very limited view of professionalism, one that is based solely on doctor–patient interactions. Both the focus groups and the authors have failed to discuss the breadth of professionalism that includes a doctor’s relationship with other doctors, allied health, nursing staff and other craft groups. Although made during the focus group interactions the derogatory comment about the “total incompetence” of radiologists and pathologists goes unchallenged, yet this comment is a clear example of unprofessional conduct and demonstrates a profound lack of insight by the focus groups, who, despite poor teaching, believe they have learnt professionalism. Surely this is a point requiring discussion and reflection by the authors?

  • Tom R Sutherland

  • St Vincent’s Hospital, Melbourne, VIC.


Competing interests:

No relevant disclosures.


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