Final year medical students and professionalism: lessons from six Sudanese medical schools?

Nazik Elmalaika Husain, Nasr Mohamed Ahmed Elsheikh, Mohamed Nasr Elsheikh, Amal Mahmoud, Mohamed Yousif Sukkar, Mohammad A. M. Ibnouf, Mohamed H. Ahmed


Background: Medical students as future professionals must reflect the trust the public places in the medical profession. This study aimed to assess the level of professional knowledge and attitude among final year medical students, their opinion on the current courses of professionalism and the impact of some socioeconomic factors on their professional thinking.
Methods: This descriptive cross-sectional study was conducted in six Sudanese Medical Schools in Khartoum State, Sudan in the period from January to April 2017. A total of 675 final year medical students enrolled in the academic year 2016–2017 were selected using systematic sampling technique (response rate was 99.8%). Data were collected using a validated self-administrated questionnaire consisted of four sections.
Results: Participants’ mean age was 22.13 (±1.61) (range, 18–30) years and 425 (63%) were females. Six hundred sixty-six (98.8%) of the medical students disclosed that medical professionalism and ethics are taught in their schools. In the knowledge section: 3 questions answered correctly by >90% of the responders, 5 questions were answered correctly by 70–90% of the responders. Therefore, Sudanese medical students achieved satisfactory knowledge about professionalism. Sudanese medical students have an excellent attitude towards non-judgemental and non-discriminatory approach (87.4%), community protection (81.5%) and readiness to serve rural areas (social accountability) (87.7%). Importantly, 79.4% of medical students answered ‘yes’ for the presence of a psychology course in the curricula.
Conclusions: The level of professional knowledge of the studied final-year medical students is very good and this combined with excellent attitudes in community protection, readiness to serve rural areas and most importantly non-judgemental and non-discriminatory approach.