Professionalism Score and Academic Performance in Osteopathic Medical Students

Karen T. Snider, DO, and Jane C. Johnson, MA
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Received: March 6, 2014

Accepted: May 16, 2014

Published: November 1, 2014

J Osteopath Med; 114(11): 850-859

Context: During the first 2 years of osteopathic medical school, osteopathic manipulative medicine (OMM) courses use an objective professionalism score to measure student timeliness and appropriate dress for learning activities.

Objectives: To assess for correlations between this score and the numeric course grades of all first- and second-year basic science and clinical courses at a single osteopathic medical school.

Methods: The professionalism scores obtained for each of the 7 quarters of the OMM course (2007-2012) were compared with the students’ numeric final course grades and combined grade point average (GPA) of all courses in the corresponding quarter. Spearman correlation coefficients were used to determine the strength of the relationship between the professionalism score and the final course grades and the combined GPA.

Results: The mean (SD) professionalism score was 98.6% (3.3%), and scores ranged from 23.1% to 100%. Excluding the OMM course, the professionalism score was positively correlated with 29% of first-year course grades and 65% of second-year course grades. The professionalism score was predictive of academic performance in 16 of 23 clinical courses with the highest correlation for Principles of Medicine and Dermatology (ρ=0.28 and ρ=0.25, respectively). The OMM professionalism score was positively associated with GPA for quarters 1, 6, and 7 (P=.006, P<.001, and P<.001, respectively). Professionalism scores were significantly lower in the second year (P<.001).

Conclusions: Objective measures of professionalism correlated with academic performance in many first- and second-year osteopathic medical school courses, particularly clinical courses in the second-year curriculum.

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