CHRISMED Journal of Health and Research

: 2019  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 112--113

Teaching professionalism and leadership skills to an Indian medical graduate

Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava1, Prateek Saurabh Shrivastava2,  
1 Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Kancheepuram, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
3rd Floor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Ammapettai Village, Thiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Sembakkam Post, Kancheepuram - 603 108, Tamil Nadu

How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Teaching professionalism and leadership skills to an Indian medical graduate.CHRISMED J Health Res 2019;6:112-113

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Teaching professionalism and leadership skills to an Indian medical graduate. CHRISMED J Health Res [serial online] 2019 [cited 2021 Sep 18 ];6:112-113
Available from:

Full Text

Dear Sir,

In the modern era, delivery of an effective health care no longer not only depends on the medical knowledge possessed by a doctor but also requires that they should be able to work professionally and effectively as a leader of a medical team.[1] In fact, the health sector has undergone drastic reforms in the last couple of decades, and at present, it is a very business-oriented and competitive field.[1] Thus, to succeed in today's health-care system, the graduating students should not only have a good knowledge but also have to be supported with other competencies such as professionalism, ethical approach, leadership, and teamwork skills.[1],[2]

Acknowledging the importance of these competencies, they have been already incorporated by most of the educational bodies across the different nations.[1],[2],[3] Even in India, a medical graduate should acquire the roles of a clinician, a leader and member of the health care team, a good communicator, a lifelong learner, and a professional, by the time of completion of their course.[4],[5] However, most of the medical school curricula have no elements to address these essential attributes, and broadly, it has failed to address these roles/competencies during the graduation.[1]

To teach professionalism and leadership skills to the medical graduates, different approaches have been tried out, ranging from the development of ethical case scenarios to the delivery of modular training.[2],[3],[5],[6] The results of these studies have indicated better educational outcomes among students and improved understanding of the various leadership styles.[2],[3],[5],[6] Considering the fact that the duration of undergraduation in India is already 5.5 years and if we want the Indian medical graduate to acquire these skills, they have to be taught within the available time without increasing the overall duration of the course.[3]

Different approaches can be tried to ensure that the undergraduate medical student can be taught professionalism and leadership skills.[1],[2],[3],[4],[5] This can start right from the time of the foundation course, in which students can be oriented about the same and its need in the clinical practice. As most of the medical colleges have started the practice of early community exposure, wherein the 1st-year students are taken to the neighboring villages and encouraged to work and learn with the local community. This exposure provides a unique opportunity for them to develop leadership skills and work as a member of the team, as the students are divided into groups for fulfilling their assigned tasks.

Role modeling or shadowing, in which teachers act as a role model and students' tries to learn their attributes and replicate the same.[7] It is quite an effective approach, and it would not be wrong to say that most of the currently practicing physicians have imbibed the traits of professionalism and leadership through the same approach.[7] Multisource feedback or 360-degree feedback (namely, feedback from peers, patients, teachers, other stakeholders, etc.) has been identified as an effective approach for teaching professionalism.[8] In addition, students can be exposed to varied case vignettes or videos and asked to reflect upon the situation and their response to the given scenario.[4]

In addition, strategies of mentoring with effective feedback, role plays, and project-based learning can also be tried upon by different departments. Moreover, ethics and professionalism go hand-in-hand, so all those methods, which can be used to teach ethics, will definitely aid even in developing professional values. Further, the organization of a cultural event or any academic event by the student gives them a massive opportunity not only to learn to do things professionally but also enables them to learn leadership skills and conflict resolution.

In conclusion, it is high time that the undergraduate medical students are exposed to professionalism and leadership skills within their curricula, as it plays a great role in making them competent and the success of their clinical practice in the future.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.


1Pawlina W, Hromanik MJ, Milanese TR, Dierkhising R, Viggiano TR, Carmichael SW, et al. Leadership and professionalism curriculum in the gross anatomy course. Ann Acad Med Singapore 2006;35:609-14.
2Feili A, Kojuri J, Bazrafcan L. A dramatic way to teach clinical reasoning and professionalism. Med Educ 2018;52:1186-7.
3Schulz K, Puscas L, Tucci D, Woodard C, Witsell D, Esclamado RM, et al. Surgical training and education in promoting professionalism: A comparative assessment of virtue-based leadership development in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery residents. Med Educ Online 2013;18:22440.
4Dhaliwal U, Singh S, Singh N. Reflective student narratives: Honing professionalism and empathy. Indian J Med Ethics 2018;3:9-15.
5Mahajan R, Aruldhas BW, Sharma M, Badyal DK, Singh T. Professionalism and ethics: A proposed curriculum for undergraduates. Int J Appl Basic Med Res 2016;6:157-63.
6Walsh BC, Karia R, Egol K, Zuckerman JD, Phillips D. Teaching professionalism in orthopaedic residency: Efficacy of the American Academy of Orthopaedic surgeons ethics modules. J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2018;26:507-14.
7Sternszus R, Macdonald ME, Steinert Y. Resident role modeling: “It just happens”. Acad Med 2016;91:427-32.
8Yazdankhah A, Tayefeh Norooz M, Ahmadi Amoli H, Aminian A, Khorgami Z, Khashayar P, et al. Using 360-degree multi-source feedback to evaluate professionalism in surgery departments: An Iranian perspective. Med J Islam Repub Iran 2015;29:284.