Professionalism: A mixed-methods research study

Date: 06 August, 2020
Professionalism: A mixed-methods research study

Professionalism: a mixed-methods research study was commissioned by the GDC to provide a comprehensive study of professionalism in healthcare and dentistry.

The report comprises of 13 scoping interviews, a rapid evidence review of 92 papers, six focus groups with dental professionals, three focus groups with members of the public and a survey with two rounds (with responses from over a 1,000 individuals).

The research, commissioned by the GDC and completed by the Association of Dental Education Europe (ADEE), found:

  • The public talked about professionalism in terms of safety: knowing the treatment risks and being treated by a practitioner with ‘safe’ hands. For many dental professionals, clinical competence was an assumed aspect or pre-requisite for professionalism.
  • The distinction between working life and personal life was important when considering professionalism. Although both members of the public and dental professionals highlighted the ethical relevance of behaviour and attitudes in a professional’s personal life, patients took a more lenient approach.
  • Communication to support patients to make better informed decisions was seen as a priority, suggesting that more work needed to be done to educate or inform the public about what to expect or standards of care. Positively engaging patients on complaints and concerns was also suggested as a way of supporting patients to make informed decisions.
  • Professionalism is developed through observation and reflection and can be challenging to assess. New dentists learn from observing seniors. Insight and reflection were viewed as important throughout dental training and professional practice. 

You can read more about the findings, as well as our ongoing work in this area, on our Promoting professionalism page.


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