Background and aims Effective communication and strong professional conduct are essential to the practice of medicine. Differences across cultures are likely to impact education in these areas. We conducted a cross-sectional survey of paediatric residents in United States (US) and Singapore to study these differences.
Methods A 108-item written questionnaire was developed, addressing residents’ perceptions and attitudes towards communication/professionalism using five-point Likert scales. Reliability was analysed using Cronbach’s alpha.
Results Response rate was 64% (89/139). Median age 29 years (28–30). Cronbach’s alpha for professionalism (r = 0.94) and communication (r = 0.96) were excellent. Residents in both countries rated the top three principles of professionalism and communication similarly: 1) shared decision making with patients, 2) compassion/empathy, and 3) competency, and 1) breaking bad news, 2) dealing with difficult parents, and 3) discussing end of life issues, respectively. However, Singapore residents perceived self-awareness more importantly than US residents. Role modelling was the most useful teaching method on both sides. Residents in Singapore placed more emphasis on didactic lectures for teaching professionalism and standardised patients with role-play for communication. Top barriers and promoters to learning were similar on both sides. However, Singapore residents highlighted negative culture and role-modelling within the department as additional barriers, and formal education through lectures and feedback on personal behaviour as additional promoters.
Conclusion Although residents from both countries view the various components of professionalism and communication similarly, preferred teaching methods, barriers, and promoters differ across cultures. These cultural differences are important considerations in developing the curricula for professionalism and communication.