Developing role models in clinical settings: A qualitative study of medical students, residents and clinical teachers

Sonia Ijaz Haider, Roger Christopher Gill, Qamar Riaz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore how positive role modelling attributes can be developed in students, residents and clinical teachers. Methods: The qualitative study using focus group discussions was held at Aga Khan University, Karachi from March to May 2018, and comprised medical students, residents and clinical teachers. Overall 11 focus group discussions were conducted till data saturation was achieved. Content analysis was used to analyse the data which was transcribed verbatim. Results: Of the 116 subjects, 60(51.7%) were medical students, 35(30.2%) were residents and 21(18%) were clinical teachers. Of the 11 focus group discussions, 4(36.5%) each were held with the students and the residents, while 3(27%) were held with the teachers. Five major themes that emerged from the study included definition of role models, attributes of role models, role modelling as a learnt behaviour, challenges in developing role models, and recommendations for developing positive role models. A number of attributes of positive and negative role models were identified by the participants. All the participants including students, residents and teachers appreciated the importance of role modelling in developing professionalism among health professionals and medical students. Factors hindering development and demonstration of positive role modelling were also identified and possible solutions were suggested. Conclusion: Clinical teachers needed to be made cognizant of their role as positive role models in developing professionally competent physicians. The medical institutions needed to develop and implement policies that would enhance positive role modelling by the teachers and facilitate learning of positive attributes at all levels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1498-1504
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020


  • Focus group discussions
  • Health professionals
  • Role modelling


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