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Keywords:

  • hidden curriculum;
  • medical education;
  • professional performance;
  • professional socialization;
  • professionalism

Abstract

A study of professional socialization in a medical education programme in Sweden is presented. The aim of the study was to explore ideals held within the educational practice concerning what constitutes an effective professional practitioner. Sixteen respondents from educational practice, eight teachers and eight students, were interviewed regarding their views on what constitutes ‘the ideal physician’, i.e. the desirable end product of medical education. Their responses were classified into six virtues: wisdom, discipline, humility, empathy, maturity and strength, each with corresponding vices. These virtues and vices reflect a desired direction for professional socialization during medical training and the professional performance of physicians. They also provide useful indicators of what has been described as medicine’s hidden curriculum. Implications for curriculum planning and the organization of learning in medical education are discussed.