Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Widdifield H, Ryan CA, O'Sullivan E;
Irish Medical Journal
Understanding the role of the qualified professional: a comparison of medical and dental students' attitudes.
Optional Fields

The Royal College of Physicians & Surgeons of Canada developed a competency framework to assist future specialists in responding to challenges as health care providers. The CANMEDs project described 7 essential roles of Specialist Physicians include Health Advocate, Manager, Scholar, Medical Expert, Professional, Communicator and Collaborator (HMSEPC(2)). The object of the current study was to investigate whether medical students and dental students in Ireland recognised these responsibilities as essential to a qualified doctor/dentist. Methods: Ninety-eight medical and forty-six dental students (year 1 and year 4) were asked to mind map the responsibilities of qualified doctors/dentists. The comments on the mind map were applied to one of the 7 CANMED roles. There were 484 comments from 128 students. Students had the greatest number of responses referring to the Medical and Dental Expert (257, 30.4%) and Professional (227, 26.9%) roles. This was followed by Communicator (130, 15.4%), Scholar (107, 12.7%) and Health Advocate (82, 9.7%) roles. There were relatively few responses relating to Manager (12, 1.4%) and Collaborator (i.e. teamwork) roles (30, 3.6%). There were no differences in responses between Dental Students and Medical Students and between 1 st year and 4th year students. Similarly there were no differences between the responses of Irish students (n =95; 68%) and International students (n =45; 32%) Students are aware of their responsibilities as Medical or Dental experts (diagnostic and therapeutic skills) for ethical and effective patient care (professional role). They are somewhat aware of the Communicator (therapeutic relationships and effective listening), Scholar (personal continuing education strategies) and Health Advocate (contribute to improved community health) roles. In general they have little concept of the importance of Management skills (utilising resources effectively), and of Collaboration (teamwork and consulting effectively with other physicians and health care professionals). Medical and Dental Educators and Curriculum Committees should address these important deficiencies.

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