Preclinical medical students' understandings of academic and medical professionalism: Visual analysis of mind maps

Janusz Janczukowicz, Charlotte E Rees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Several studies have begun to explore medical students’ understandings of professionalism generally and medical professionalism specifically. Despite espoused relationships between academic (AP) and medical professionalism (MP), previous research has not yet investigated students’ conceptualisations of AP and MP and the relationships between the two.
Objectives: The current study, based on innovative visual analysis of mind maps, therefore aims to contribute to the developing literature on how professionalism is understood.
Methods: We performed a multilayered analysis of 98 mind maps from 262 first-year medical students, including analysing textual and graphical elements of AP, MP and the relationships between AP and MP.
Results: The most common textual attributes of AP were learning, lifestyle and personality, while attributes of MP were knowledge, ethics and patient-doctor relations. Images of books, academic caps and teachers were used most often to represent AP, while images of the stethoscope, doctor and red cross were used to symbolise MP. While AP-MP relations were sometimes indicated through co-occurring text, visual connections and higher-order visual metaphors, many students struggled to articulate the relationships between AP and MP.
Conclusions: While the mind maps’ textual attributes shared similarities with those found in previous research, suggesting the universality of some professionalism attributes, our study provides new insights into students’ conceptualisations of AP, MP and AP-MP relationships. We encourage medical educators to help students develop their understandings of AP, MP and AP-MP relationships, plus consider the feasibility and value of mind maps as a source of visual data for medical education research.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere015897
Number of pages11
JournalBMJ Open
Volume7
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017

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