Reflecting on BCMP students’ experiences of professionalism during clinical rotations

Nontsikelelo Olga Mapukata-Sondzaba, Ames Dhai


Background: The professional standards expected of individuals who commit to the practice of medicine require that they possess character traits that are consistent with and reflect the core values, principles and competencies of the medical profession.
Objective: The aim was to evaluate final year Bachelor of Clinical Medical Practice (BCMP) students’ experiences of professionalism during clinical rotations.

Method: Hatem’s definition of professionalism was the stimulus that guided 25 final year BCMP students’ reflections on their experiences of professionalism during clinical rotations. The students’ responses documented as portfolio entries were distilled into quantitative core values and subjected to an ethical analysis according to the guidelines as provided by the Health Professions Council of South Africa.

Results: There was a positive association between frequency of reflections and the positive nature of the experiences of professionalism for the majority of the contextual attributes (53.8%). Negative experiences of professionalism (46.2%) were context-specific and perceived by students as denying them an opportunity to attain professionally required skills.

Conclusion: BCMP students reflected on their professional development as a process that was influenced by individuals and a competency that was determined by the extent to which the team pulled together for the benefit of the patients and the students. The study has highlighted some of the ethical dilemmas related to context. 

Authors' affiliations

Nontsikelelo Olga Mapukata-Sondzaba, Division of Rural Health, Facultyof Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Ames Dhai, Steve Biko Centre for Bioethics, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witswatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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professionalism; contextual attributes; health sciences students; clinical rotations

Cite this article

South African Journal of Bioethics and Law 2015;8(1):26. DOI:10.7196/SAJBL.372

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-11-25
Date published: 2015-05-15

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