Dr. Tomlinson co-author of medical education article

Tom Tomlinson photoCenter Director and Professor Dr. Tom Tomlinson is co-author of an article in the open access e-journal MedEdPublish. The article, “Reframing Professionalism: The Virtuous Professional,” was written by College of Human Medicine faculty members William Wadland, Margaret Thompson, Donna Mulder, Tom Tomlinson, Steven Roskos, John Foglio, John Molidor, and Janet Osuch.

Abstract: In response to prevalent unprofessional behaviors during the 1990s, the medical school administration at Michigan State University’s College of Human Medicine developed a student curriculum for professional development, called “The Virtuous Student Physician.” However, as students adopted these professional aspirations and attributes, they noted that faculty members were not being held to the same standards.

The medical school’s senior associate dean for faculty affairs and development convened a task force to reframe professionalism for all faculty, residents, and students. Our first step was to survey our faculty regarding their awareness of the student professionalism curriculum and their own perceived professional weaknesses. This survey showed the following: most faculty members were aware of “The Virtuous Student Physician” curriculum, that faculty members identified social responsibility as the most difficult attribute to achieve, and that the most difficult behavior identified was working to resolve problem behaviors with colleagues.

The task force then developed a new curriculum “The Virtuous Professional: A System of Professional Development for Students, Residents, and Faculty.” The task force identified three core virtues (Courage, Humility, and Mercy) and reframed the professional attributes encompassed by these virtues to be aspirational for the entire learning community. The faculty of the College subsequently adopted the new principles and practices, including the use of routine, anonymous student evaluation of faculty professionalism.

We are currently collecting data from student evaluations of their clinical faculty members. We plan to use this feedback to guide faculty development and recognize those who model exemplary professionalism as well as to address those who engage in unprofessional behavior.

The full text is available online from AMEE MedEdPublish.

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