Challenges in practicing and inculcating professionalism in the University of Nairobi: A mixed methods study (Published 2015)
Apr 06, 2016
Ojuka D, Olenja J, Eunbae Y and Nimrod M
This study explores the challenge of ensuring professionalism in the practice of medicine in the Kenyan context.
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.
At a time when we are all expanding our horizons regarding professionalism in undergraduate, postgraduate and qualified physicians and surgeons, this interesting paper adds to our insight from one specific region. The comments from each group of "professionals" adds to out broadening spectrum of what constitutes professionalism and is therefore certainly worth reading.
If one looks at the conclusion and specifically the way resources seem to affect professionalism, I find this particularly interesting. When reversed one can ask " should lack of resources be an excuse for not acting in a professional way?" - I wonder if this is just an excuse as it is in so many situations!
Lack of resources and how it affects personal emoluments and therefore livelihood affects professionalism because practicing professionalism in that situation requires a strong character that sees medicine as a call and not just a means to livelihood