(CS EdX Sessions) Hyde, Sarah

Title: What does Effective Professionalism in Practice look like at Charles Sturt?

Presenter: Dr Sarah Hyde (Senior Lecturer in Medical Education)

Co-presenter(s): Dr Andi Salamon, Dr Lincoln Gill, Dr Susanne Francisco

Faculty / Division: FoSH

School / Unit: Rural Medicine

Session Type: Interactive Discussion

When: Wednesday, 17 November 2021 @ 12:15pm – 1:15pm)

Where: https://charlessturt.zoom.us/j/67000520106


Professionalism is a thorny issue across UG and PG education and practice and is distinguished from professional behaviour, professional practice, and professional identity formation (Mak-van der Vossen et al 2020).  Professionalism can be seen to encompass multi-layered dispositions, cognitions, and is morally and ethically informed. The challenges inherent in teaching and assessment of professionalism are related to critical praxis and ‘professional suitability’, issues shared across the registrable professions (e.g. Creasy, 2015; Dodillet, Lundin, and Kruger, 2019; Murphy, Whitehouse and Parsa, 2020). Inappropriate or unprofessional behaviours are often not captured by competency-based testing, and although one can be ‘fit to practice’ and accepted to the profession, a student can graduate and be lacking in professionalism. Professionalism has been a mandated requirement of most accredited courses since the late 1990’s, and in some courses must be explicitly and implicitly assessed and taught (Cruess and Cruess, 2012). However, trying to fail students on a lack of professionalism is difficult, there are no agreed common descriptors used to document what is unprofessional (Mak-van der Vossen et al, 2017).

As a university for the professions, with Professional Practice as a GLO, how are staff Charles Sturt critically reflecting on effective practice in teaching and assessment of professionalism from Day 1 of a course? Experts in the area have suggested that “professionalism curriculum must be based on, and reflect, the environment of the institution in which it is taught” (Cruess 2006a, p. 180) – if we start with that ethos, what might a Professionalism framework at Charles Sturt look like? The practice of professionalism within the Charles Sturt professions is the issue we want to explore today. How can we best examine the teaching and assessment of professionalism? What aspects of professionalism are focused on in different disciplines?

Having a more explicit understanding across our courses as to what constitutes professionalism within the university and workplace learning settings would enhance earlier detection and remediation of ‘problem behaviours’. Mak-van der Vossen and colleagues in 2020 developed a model for identifying and remediating lack of professionalism in medicine. This will be presented as material to stimulate discussion and examine intersections with other disciplines. Through exploring the synergies in understanding professionalism across our disciplines we hope to stimulate discussion and research about what we do at Charles Sturt to teach and assess professionalism that can be used to inform reporting, industry linkages and creation of further partnerships, and may be a springboard for an institutionally focused approach to interprofessional education and practice as well.

Intended outcomes for participants:

  • Develop a common understanding of the practices of professionalism in our disciplines and courses
  • Start to develop shared framework to review the teaching and assessment of professionalism
  • An opportunity to join a collaborative group to promote further research and resources in relation to this topic

Conference theme: Co-creation

  • What are the practices, knowledge, morals and values underpinning the teaching of professionalism in our courses?
  • Is there a common signature pedagogy of professionalism?
  • How can we develop a ‘Charles Sturt’ approach to professionalism? What would the key features look like in Year 1? Year 4? At UG and PG levels? Is this a springboard to a university-based approach to interprofessional practice?


Creasy, K. (2015). Defining professionalism in teacher education programs, Journal of Education and Social Policy, 2(2), 23-25. http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED563997.pdf

Cruess RL. 2006a. Teaching professionalism: Theory, principles, and practices. Clin Orthop Relat Res 449:177–185

Cruess, S. R., & Cruess, R. L. (2012). Teaching professionalism – Why, What and How. Facts, views & vision in ObGyn4(4), 259–265. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3987476/pdf/FVVinObGyn-4-259-265.pdf

Dodillet, S., Lundin, S. & Krüger, J. (2019) Constructing professionalism in teacher education. Analytical tools from a comparative study, Education Inquiry, 10(3), 208-225, DOI: 10.1080/20004508.2018.1529527 https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/20004508.2018.1529527

Mak-van der Vossen M, van Mook W, van der Burgt S, Kors J, Ket JCF, Croiset G, Kusurkar R. Descriptors for unprofessional behaviours of medical students: a systematic review and categorisation. BMC Med Educ. 2017 Sep 15;17(1):164. doi: 10.1186/s12909-017-0997-x. PMID: 28915870; PMCID: PMC5603020.

Mak-van der Vossen M, Teherani A, van Mook W, Croiset G, Kusurkar RA. How to identify, address and report students’ unprofessional behaviour in medical school. Med Teach. 2020 Apr;42(4):372-379. doi: 10.1080/0142159X.2019.1692130. Epub 2019 Dec 27. PMID: 31880194. https://doi.org/10.1080/0142159X.2019.1692130

Murphy, S., Whitehouse, L., Parsa, B. (2020). Teaching professionalism: some features in Canadian physiotherapy programs, Physiotherapy Theory and Practice, 36:5, 615-627, DOI: 10.1080/09593985.2018.1491080