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Objectives: Professionalism has garnered immense attention in medical education due to increased societal accountability and focus on excellence in healthcare. However, less attention has been given to identifying attitudes about professionalism in medical students who are the future advocates of the healthcare system. This study aimed to assess perceptions of Saudi undergraduate medical students towards professionalism. Methods: A cross-sectional survey was carried out among 2nd- and 6th-year students of a Saudi medical college in September of 2018. A self-administered professionalism questionnaire was anonymously completed. Students were asked to provide their level of agreement with 18 survey items using a 5-point Likert scale. Results: Overall, 288 students participated in the study (49.3% males and 50.7% females), with a response rate of 90%. The median professionalism score was high (71.0; range: 64-76) regardless of age, gender, or level of education. Similar high scores were noted in the following subscales: Excellence, 20.0 (18, 21); Respect for Others, 17.0 (14, 18); Altruism, 12.0 (10, 13); Duty, 8.0 (7, 9); Accountability, 7.0 (6, 8); and Honor and Integrity, 8.0 (7, 10). No gender differences were observed in the majority of subscales. However, males demonstrated higher scores in the Duty subscale (9.0 vs. 8.0; P = 0.026). Conclusion: Medical students demonstrated high professionalism scores. Future studies are needed to assess the impact of the course curriculum on their level of professionalism over time.
Keywords: assessment, curriculum, medical students, professionalism, survey.
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