Physicians’ interpersonal relationships and professional standing seen through the eyes of the general public in Croatia
Marko Ćurković,1 Milan Milošević,2 Ana Borovečki,3 Jadranka Mustajbegović2
1University Psychiatric Hospital Vrapce, Zagreb, Croatia; 2Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, School of Public Health “Andrija Štampar,” University of Zagreb, School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia; 3Department of Social Medicine and Organization of Health Care, School of Public Health “Andrija Štampar,” University of Zagreb, School of Medicine, Zagreb, Croatia
Purpose: Medical professionalism, as a cornerstone of medicine’s social contract with society, demands physicians adhere to high professional standards while placing public interest ahead of self-interest. This study’s objective was to investigate perceptions of the basic elements of medical professionalism related to physicians’ interpersonal relationships and their professional standing in the view of the broader public.
Methods: A field survey was conducted using an independently created questionnaire on a nationally representative three-stage probabilistic sample of 1,008 Croatian citizens. By including weights, the sample became nationally representative in terms of sex, age, education, and regional representation. The survey was carried out from April 17 to May 13, 2012.
Results: The Croatian public recognizes the importance of collaboration among physicians, but their everyday experiences tell a different story, in which almost half of the respondents evaluated physicians’ collaboration as being mediocre, poor, or nonexistent. The perception of physicians’ priorities and their primary interests, where every sixth respondent believes physicians always or almost always puts their own interest in front of that of the patients, as well as the perception of their inadequate adherence to professional standards, is indicative of a disillusioned stance of the public toward the medical profession in Croatia.
Conclusion: This research offered insight into findings that can have a profound and long-lasting effect on a health care delivery process if they are not further analyzed and rectified.
Keywords: medical professionalism, professional standing, questionnaire, public opinion, Croatia
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