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Professionalism in Healthcare and Dentistry – Report Published

7 August 2020

Commissioned by the General Dental Council (GDC), Cardiff University researchers at CUREMeDE and the Dental School, together with others from the Association of Dental Education in Europe (ADEE), undertook a mixed-methods research study which provides a comprehensive look at professionalism in healthcare and dentistry.

The study aimed to address the following research questions:

  1. What aspects of professionalism does the public expect from dental professionals and why are these perceived as important?
  2. How can aspects of professionalism be categorised?
  3. Do expectations of professionalism differ in dentistry compared to other professions or between dental professionals?
  4. The teaching of professionalism - how does the undergraduate curriculum prepare students to meet professionalism expectations and how this is evidenced?

Key findings include:

  • Professionalism is a multifaceted and context-dependent concept, and therefore, not easily defined for every circumstance or individual.
  • ‘Professionalism’ is viewed differently by members of the public and dental professionals in some instances. For example, views about professionalism in personal time, experience during the appointment, and whether the exchange of money for dental care plays a role. Dental professionals also typically framed professionalism in negative terms (i.e. what not to do).
  • These differences have important implications for the relationship between patients and professionals – and are likely to continue because professionals form their understanding of professionalism largely through observation.
  • Good communication and involving patients in decision-making is a key element of professionalism and an essential foundation of trust.

For further information and to download the report please visit

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