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Designing a Curriculum for Professionalism and Ethics Within Radiology

Identifying Challenges and Expectations
Published:March 24, 2018DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.acra.2018.02.007
      Although professionalism and ethics represent required competencies, they are more challenging than other competencies to design a curriculum for and teach. Reasons include variability in agreed definitions of professionalism within medicine and radiology. This competency is also framed differently whether as roles, duties, actions, skills, behavior, beliefs, and attitudes.
      Standardizing a curriculum in professionalism is difficult because each learner's (medical student/resident) professional experiences and interactions will be unique. Professionalism is intertwined throughout all (sub) specialties and areas and its teaching cannot occur in isolation as a standalone curriculum. In the past, professionalism was not emphasized enough or at all, with global (or no) assessments, with the potential effect of trainees not valuing it.
      Although we can teach it formally in the classroom and informally in small groups, much of professionalism is witnessed and learned as “hidden curricula”. The formal, informal, and hidden curricula often contradict each other creating confusion, disillusion, and cynicism in trainees.
      The corporatization of medicine pressurizes us to increase efficiency (throughput) with less focus on aspects of professionalism that add value, creating a disjoint between what we do in practice and preach to trainees. Progressively, expectations for our curriculum include providing evidence for the impacts of our efforts on patient outcomes.
      Generational differences in the perception of professionalism and the increasingly diverse and multicultural society in which we live affects our interpretation of professionalism, which can add to confusion and misunderstanding.
      The objectives of this article are to outline challenges facing curriculum design in professionalism and to make suggestions to help educators avoid or overcome them.

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