News in brief: July 2009
Researchers in Britain have developed a “conscientiousness index” to help medical schools identify students with wayward professional attitudes. The system, developed at Durham University’s school of medicine and published in the journal Academic Medicine, gives students points for good attendance, handing work in on time, and other indicators of a professional attitude (2009;84:559-65).
Studies from the United States have shown that reviewing the university records of problematic doctors often shows that they were less than perfect as students. The Durham researchers hope that their score would allow students with unprofessional behaviour to receive support at an early stage.
“A doctor’s behaviour is as important as his or her knowledge,” said the lead researcher, John McLachlan. “In fact, most complaints to the General Medical Council are about doctors’ behaviour, not their lack of knowledge” (http://news.scotsman.com/uk/Medical-students-to-get-.5304451.jp and www.dur.ac.uk/news/newsitem/?itemno=8047).
Protests by students over changes to the curriculum at a medical school in