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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Using movies to teach professionalism to medical students

Zalika Klemenc-Ketis12* and Janko Kersnik12

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Family Medicine, Medical School, University of Maribor, Slomskov trg 15, 2000 Maribor, Slovenia

2 Department of Family Medicine, Medical School, University of Ljubljana, Poljanski nasip 58, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

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BMC Medical Education 2011, 11:60  doi:10.1186/1472-6920-11-60

Published: 23 August 2011

Abstract

Background

Professionalism topics are usually not covered as a separate lesson within formal curriculum, but in subtler and less officially recognized educational activities, which makes them difficult to teach and assess. Interactive methods (e.g. movies) could be efficient teaching methods but are rarely studied. The aims of this study were: 1) to test the relevance and usefulness of movies in teaching professionalism to fourth year medical students and, 2) to assess the impact of this teaching method on students' attitudes towards some professionalism topics.

Method

This was an education study with qualitative data analysis in a group of eleven fourth year medical students from the Medical School of University Maribor who attended an elective four month course on professionalism. There were 8 (66.7%) female students in the group. The mean age of the students was 21.9 ± 0.9 years. The authors used students' written reports and oral presentations as the basis for qualitative analysis using thematic codes.

Results

Students recognised the following dimensions in the movie: communication, empathy, doctors' personal interests and palliative care. It also made them think about their attitudes towards life, death and dying.

Conclusions

The controlled environment of movies successfully enables students to explore their values, beliefs, and attitudes towards features of professionalism without feeling that their personal integrity had been threatened. Interactive teaching methods could become an indispensible aid in teaching professionalism to new generations.