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Measuring Professionalism in Resident Physicians

Michael J. Peeters, PharmD; Svetlana Beltyukova, PhD
JAMA. 2009;301(7):723-724. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.134.
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To the Editor: In their study of behaviors of highly professional resident physicians, Dr Reed and colleagues1 attempted to measure professionalism using instrument items they describe as reflecting the best practices in professionalism measurement. However, we believe that a consideration of measurement requirements and useful measure construction is warranted.

Measures are useful when they are unidimensional and linear and use a standard unit of measurement repeated throughout the measurement continuum.2 A tape measure is an example of such measures; length or width is measured separately on a linear equal-interval scale using a standard unit (inches or centimeters). These measurement requirements, which are needed in both physical and social sciences, appear violated in the professionalism measurement developed in the study by Reed et al.

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February 18, 2009
Darcy A. Reed, MD, MPH; Colin P. West, MD, PhD; Thomas J. Beckman, MD
JAMA. 2009;301(7):723-724. doi:10.1001/jama.2009.135.
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