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Title: 'What Makes a Good Doctor?' - Views of the Medical Profession and the Public in Setting Priorities for Medical Education
Authors: Fones, C.S.L. 
Kua, E.H. 
Goh, L.G. 
Keywords: Attributes
Medical education
Issue Date: Dec-1998
Citation: Fones, C.S.L., Kua, E.H., Goh, L.G. (1998-12). 'What Makes a Good Doctor?' - Views of the Medical Profession and the Public in Setting Priorities for Medical Education. Singapore Medical Journal 39 (12) : 537-542. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Aim: The concept of the 'good doctor' was systematically studied by determining the views of doctors and non-physicians regarding the qualities and attributes of an ideal physician. Method: A list of characteristics of a good doctor was compiled from a Medline search, and from opinions generated by three focus groups (medical school academics, general practitioners and non-medical professionals). This was qualitatively categorised into five domains : 1. Cognitive, 2. Conative, 3. Emotional, 4. Interpersonal, and 5. Moral-ethical. An inventory comprising 25 statements, which reflected the most commonly and consistently identified characteristics was administered to 274 doctors and 400 members of the public. Each item was scored on a Likert scale (0 = not important, to 4 = absolutely essential). Results: The public regarded being 1. knowledgeable and 2. keeping up-to-date most important; physicians regarded being 1. honest and 2. responsible and trustworthy as the two most important items. There was significant difference (p < 0.001) between physicians 'and the public' item ratings for 13 of the 25 items. The public rated cognitive qualities most highly; the ethical domain was most important to doctors. Healthcare consumers were significantly more concerned than doctors about domains of emotional regulation, and communication. Overall, the two groups had strong agreement on the rank order of both items and domains (Spearman r, 0.88 and 0.91). Conclusion: Medical education should inculcate the values and qualities desired by both the medical profession and public. Basic medical knowledge and reasoning are of prime importance; moral-ethical issues and communication skills should also be emphasised. Selection criteria for admission to medical school should also consider humanistic, non-cognitive traits.
Source Title: Singapore Medical Journal
ISSN: 00375675
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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