Author: Ojuka D, Olenja J, Eunbae Y and Nimrod M Publication Year: 2015
Summary: This study explores the challenge of ensuring professionalism in the practice of medicine in the Kenyan context.
Description: Background: Professionalism in medicine is a social contract between society and the medical personnel. Challenges in the practice has been raised worldwide. Since it concerns values that change from time to time and from culture to culture, the concern and challenges are expected to be difference from culture to culture. Our aim was to explore the challenges to inculcation and practice of professionalism as viewed by those who are involved in the surgical teaching environment in Kenya.

Methodology: A sequential mixed methods study was conducted among faculty, registrars, medical students and auxiliary clinical staff at University of Nairobi Department of Surgery, Kenyatta National Hospital surgical wards. The data were collected through focus group discussions and individual interviews, then analyzed using grounded theory. Views expressed were used to construct a questionnaire used in the survey for validation of the challenges mentioned. The survey was analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 20(Chicago, Illinois)

Results: The majority of the participants felt that the most challenging issue was character as reflected in the poor attitude towards patient and lack of resources that makes it difficult to give professional services. This then leads to the physicians participating more in private practice leading unavailability in the employment place. The two challenges were then confirmed in the survey with 85.1% and 85.6% agreeing respectively.

Conclusion: The predominant challenges according to the view of those in the surgical community in the setting of University of Nairobi in so far as professionalism is concerned are character and financial resources. An appreciation of these challenges should lead to changes in the curriculum and practical changes to the teaching and practice environment.

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