Perception of Physicians Regarding the Prevalence of Unprofessional Behavior among Their Colleagues in a Tertiary Care Hospital in Saudi Arabia

Dr. Amr Jamal

National Guard Program – Riyadh   2007/2008


To estimate the perception of physicians regarding the prevalence of certain unprofessional behaviors done by physicians as estimated by physicians themselves at a tertiary care center in Saudi Arabia.


A cross sectional survey conducted at King Abdul-Aziz Medical City Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. 154 physicians from five specialties: emergency medicine, family medicine, internal medicine, obstetrics and gynecology and surgery in the period from 21st January 2008 to 20th February 2008 participated in the study. Self-administered survey containing eleven case scenarios, each is followed by a question to estimate the perception of prevalence of the unprofessional behavior.


Response rate was 82 %. The estimated prevalence of the selected unprofessional behaviors was 25.6% in crude terms. The highest was breaking patient confidentiality(50%). The lowest was lack of sexual virtue (3%). Other unprofessional behaviors studied were: behaviors related to altruism, communications skills, relations with pharmaceutical companies, evidenced-based management, respect of colleagues, primacy of patient care, honesty with patients, private work and teamwork. Getting older showed significant decrease in perception of the prevalence of unprofessional behaviors.


The study showed high estimated perception of prevalence of some unprofessional behaviors among physicians as perceived by physicians themselves. These findings in confirmed on a larger size samples and more representative, could be considered as a health system and medical education problem that needs serious attention at higher level in the medical profession. Further study concerning the assessment of medical professionalism is warranted.

keywordsProfessionalismUnprofessional behaviorMedical ethicsAttitudeCross-sectional survey; Saudi Arabia


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