Remediating professionalism lapses in medical students and doctors: a systematic review
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CONTEXT: A remediation intervention aims to facilitate the improvement of an individual whose competence in a particular skill has dropped below the level expected. Little is known regarding the effectiveness of remediation, especially in the area of professionalism. This review sought to identify and assess the effectiveness of interventions to remediate professionalism lapses in medical students and doctors. METHODS: Databases Embase, MEDLINE, Education Resources Information Center and the British Education Index were searched in September 2017 and October 2018. Studies reporting interventions to remediate professionalism lapses in medical students and doctors were included. A standardised data extraction form incorporating a previously described behaviour change technique taxonomy was utilised. A narrative synthesis approach was adopted. Quality was assessed using the Critical Appraisal Skills Programme checklist. RESULTS: A total of 19 studies on remediation interventions reported in 23 articles were identified. Of these, 13 were case studies, five were cohort studies and one was a qualitative study; 37% targeted doctors, 26% medical students, 16% residents and 21% involved mixed populations. Most interventions were multifaceted and addressed professionalism issues concomitantly with clinical skills, but some focused on specific areas (eg sexual boundaries and disruptive behaviours). Most used three or more behaviour change techniques. The included studies were predominantly of low quality as 13 of the 19 were case studies. It was difficult to assess the effectiveness of the interventions as the majority of studies did not carry out any evaluation. CONCLUSIONS: The review identifies a paucity of evidence to guide best practice in the remediation of professionalism lapses in medical students and doctors. The literature tentatively suggests that remediating lapses in professionalism, as part of a wider programme of remediation, can facilitate participants to graduate from a programme of study, and pass medical licensing and mock oral board examinations. However, it is not clear from this literature whether these interventions are successful in remediating lapses in professionalism specifically. Further research is required to improve the design and evaluation of interventions to remediate professionalism lapses.
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