The Importance of Learning with Patients: Post-Pandemic Takeaways on Learning Professionalism in Clinical Settings

Rita Mustika, Anyta Pinasthika, Nadia Greviana

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Public demands for high-quality healthcare require medical schools to ensure that physicians attain various competencies, including professionalism and humanism. This can be accomplished through various interactions and socialisations within the healthcare community. These meaningful learning experiences become more critical as students face unpredictable learning opportunities in clinical settings. However, professional development focuses on lapses, remediation and knowledge retention rather than its practice. To nurture professional and humanistic physicians, this study explores how medical students perceive learning professionalism in clinical settings. Methods: This is a qualitative phenomenology study involving medical students in clinical rotations at the Faculty of Medicine Universitas Indonesia. Respondents were chosen through a purposive sampling method that considered their gender and clinical years. Data were collected through focus group discussions (FGDs) and thematic analysis was used. Results: Three FGDs were conducted with 31 clinical students. Learning professionalism in clinical settings presents challenges, including the hidden curriculum (HC), limited exposure to patients and the clinical learning environment because of the social restrictions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The tailored strategy to learn professionalism in the clinical learning environment was more teacher-driven, including role modelling, debriefing, providing feedback and teaching context-specific knowledge on professionalism, followed by patient interactions. Conclusion: The significance of students’ interactions with the clinical learning environment, especially with patients and clinical teachers as role models, is the key to learning professionalism in clinical settings. This finding is an important takeaway in curriculum design for professionalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-149
Number of pages10
JournalMalaysian Journal of Medical Sciences
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • clinical clerkship
  • curriculum
  • medical education
  • medical student
  • professionalism


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