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Medical students: professionalism and fitness to practise

These guidance documents (developed with the Medical Schools Council) set out the professional values you should meet as a medical student, and gives advice to medical schools on how to deal with concerns about students’ fitness to practise.

Achieving good medical practice

Medical students are studying to join a trusted profession that will bring them into contact with patients and members of the public. They must demonstrate a high standard of behaviour at all times, which justifies the trust placed in them as a future member of the profession.

This guidance outlines the standards expected of medical students both inside and outside medical school and it shows how the principles and values of Good medical practice apply to them.  Understanding how the guidance applies now and in their future career will help in being a good student and, in the future, a good doctor.

>> Read the guidance: Achieving good medical practice: guidance for medical students

Professional behaviour and fitness to practise

Medical schools and universities must have a process to identify and deal with students whose fitness to practise may be impaired. Fitness to practise is a part of how medical schools help their students become excellent professionals.

This document gives guidance to medical schools and educators on managing processes for professionalism concerns and fitness to practise. It aims to give a consistent framework that can be adapted to local processes.

Although this guidance is mainly aimed at medical schools and universities, medical students may also find it useful, to understand how their institution deals with these issues.

>> Read the guidance: Professional behaviour and fitness to practise: guidance for medical schools and their students

Other versions of this guidance

You can ask for these publications in Welsh, or in another format or language. Please call us on 0161 923 6602 or email us at publications@gmc-uk.org.

Guidance in action

Case studies

Case Studies Table

Social media use - find out what happened when Sarah and Mohammed were reported for sharing stories about patients and staff on Facebook Personal health - see how Aaron approached his struggle with anxiety and depression due to his academic workload Serious misconduct - Stephanie is a year five medical student whose behaviour is called into question on a night out. Find out what happens when she tries to treat a friend in an emergency Working in isolated environments - read about the issues faced by Ramesh doing his first clinical placement in a isolated rural area. Repeated low level concerns - Yanmei is a first year student finding it difficult to adapt to university life. Find out happens when she continues arriving late and misses deadlines

Thought pieces

Raising concerns about professionalism is an important principle based on our standards for medical education and training. Read more on the importance of having clear policies for raising and acting on concerns.

In the context of student fitness to practise, remediation is where a student or graduate addresses concerns about their conduct, behaviour or health. This piece focuses on the key principles behind remediation, how students can demonstrate it, and how schools can support them in the process.

Should medical students going through fitness to practice procedures seek legal representation? Should their schools encourage them to do so? This piece outlines some principles to help schools and students make the decision of where legal representation would be useful.

Myths and questions

Student fitness to practise - myths and questions

Teaching resources

See this section for resources for teaching professionalism to medical students. This focuses on the shortlisted sessions medical students submitted to our recent professionalism competition (ran jointly with the Medical Schools Council).

Good practice