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Low Level Professionalism

Monitoring Low Level Professionalism Concerns

In 2016 the GMC published the guidance Professional Behaviour and Fitness to practise: Guidance for Medical Schools and Their StudentsLink opens in a new window. This document provided guidance to medical schools and educators on managing processes for professionalism concerns.

GMC guidance states that low level unprofessional behaviour can include the following:

  • Appearing to be uncommitted to work or a lack of engagement with training, programme of study or clinical placements including:
    • failing to hand in work on time and non-completion/submission of tasks
    • signing a register for a learning event then leaving
    • signing a register for another student
  • Neglect of administrative tasks
  • Poor time management including lateness
  • Non-attendance including missing teaching sessions/lectures
  • Poor communication skills including failing to respond to communications from the medical school
  • Failure to accept and follow educational advice and unwillingness to learn from feedback given by others
  • Being rude to patients, colleagues or others
  • Unwillingness to learn from constructive feedback given by others
  • Being disruptive in teaching sessions or the training environment
  • Challenging behaviour towards clinical teachers or not accepting criticism
  • Failing to answer or respond to communications

However, this list is not exhaustive and low-level concerns may include any unprofessional behaviour in the four domains of Achieving Good Medical PracticeLink opens in a new window, such as treating colleagues with respect.

Whilst we encourage reporting of concerns, we also respect the rights of students about whom concerns may be raised. As such we request that concerns raised result from directly observed behaviour and not second-hand accounts. If you are aware of a serious concern please encourage any individuals concerned to report the matter themselves or speak to a member of the student support team. It is also helpful if any evidence to support the concern is attached.

Is there anything which cannot be raised by this route?

Due to University conduct processes any reports of sexual misconduct need to be raised via the Report and Support portalLink opens in a new window If you have been affected by this please seek support from the student support team or CRASACLink opens in a new window Please be reassured that all such cases are considered by the WMS fitness to practice committee on conclusion of any University investigation.

Why is it important to monitor this?

The GMC states that “Having a formal process for reporting and monitoring low-level professionalism concerns – such as lateness, not handing in work on time and missing lectures – will allow medical schools to identify any unprofessional behaviour and to address it before it leads to more-significant fitness to practise issues” (paragraph 65). In addition, other reasons include:

  • Provides students with the opportunity to reflect on and modify behaviour
  • To provide a fair and consistent approach to managing professionalism
  • Unprofessional behaviour may impact on patient safety
  • May lead to more significant fitness to practiseLink opens in a new windowissues if left unchallenged

What will happen if I report an incidence of unprofessional behaviour?

  • Concerns will be picked up by a senior member of the admin team several times a week. You will be sent an acknowledgement that your concern has been received.
  • Your concern will be forwarded to Dr Kate Owen (deputy head MBChB) & the appropriate phase lead for investigation and action (including identifying any support which may be beneficial/necessary for those concerned).
  • We will monitor all concerns and review for emerging patterns
  • The HWP groupLink opens in a new windowwill keep a log of all concerns submitted and will review and assess the professionalism of the student on a case by case basis in line with current process.
  • We aim to inform you of the outcome unless it is impossible for us to do so.

What happens if a report is made about me?

  • The report is initially discussed by a small panel of senior staff including phase leads, VLE team member and Director of Medical Studies. The team is diverse in terms of ethnicity & gender.
  • You will usually be made aware of the report by your phase lead, DST or other senior member of staff. You will be informed of the content of the concern, but will not be able to see the form to preserve anonymity.
  • We will always listen to your side of the story.
  • In most cases the matter is resolved following an initial discussion. A report of the discussion (agreed with you) will be held within your student record. The concern forms are filed separately and securely to enable us to review if patterns of concerns are emerging in keeping with GMC guidance. Concerns managed at this level are considered closed.
  • More serious concerns may be referred on to the HWP group.