Objectives During the COVID-19 outbreak, medical educators' main concern has been how to prepare new physicians and medical students to meet their obligations as healthcare providers under novel circumstances. This study aims at exploring how trainees perceive their commitments as physicians under the threat of a pandemic. Design A qualitative method was employed. Researchers interviewed medical students under clerkship training (fifth and sixth-year medical students) and new physicians undergoing postgraduate year (PGY) and specialty training. Setting A university hospital in Taipei, Taiwan. Participants The team conducted three focus groups for participants in three separate training stages: clerks, PGY students (PGYs), and residents. Researchers collected data from 31 March to 2 April 2020 and analysed the thematic analysis results. Results Seventeen medical students and new physicians took part in the focus groups, five of whom (31.25%) were female. Participants consisted of four residents, six PGYs, and seven medical students. Through their responses, the authors determined four major dimensions with corresponding subdimensions that significantly affected their sense of medical professionalism, including medical knowledge and clinical skills, sense of duty towards public health, teamwork and protection of patient rights. Conclusions We therefore concluded that participants grew to accept their roles after acquiring the knowledge and skills needed to care for patients with COVID-19. Alternative teaching arrangements and their impact on trainees' clinical performance require further discussion.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere059656
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2 2022


  • COVID-19
  • Health & safety

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Obligation or getaway? A qualitative inquiry into medical professionalism under COVID-19 among medical students and new physicians in a Taiwan hospital'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this