The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) requires pediatric residency programs to teach professionalism but does not provide concrete guidance for fulfilling these requirements. Individual programs, therefore, adopt their own methods for teaching and evaluating professionalism, and published research demonstrating how to satisfy the ACGME professionalism requirement is lacking.
We surveyed pediatric residency program directors in 2008 to explore the establishment of expectations for professional conduct, the educational experiences used to foster learning in professionalism, and the evaluation of professionalism.
Surveys were completed by 96 of 189 program directors (51%). A majority reported that new interns attend a session during which expectations for professionalism are conveyed, either verbally (93%) or in writing (65%). However, most program directors reported that “None or Few” of their residents engaged in multiple educational experiences that could foster learning in professionalism. Despite the identification of professionalism as a core competency, a minority (28%) of programs had a written curriculum in ethics or professionalism. When evaluating professionalism, the most frequently used assessment strategies were rated as “very useful” by only a modest proportion (26%–54%) of respondents.
Few programs have written curricula in professionalism, and opportunities for experiential learning in professionalism may be limited. In addition, program directors express only moderate satisfaction with current strategies for evaluating professionalism that were available through 2008.