J Korean Med Assoc.  2014 Feb;57(2):128-136.

Korean doctors' perception on doctor's social competency: based on a survey on doctors

  • 1Department of Medical Humanities and Social Sciences, The Catholic University of Korea School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 2Department of Medical Education, Ewha Womans University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 3Department of Medical Humanities, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
  • 4Department of Medical Humanities and Social Medicine, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Korea.
  • 5Department of Plastic Surgery, Korea University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. dsahn@korea.ac.kr


Medicine is the practice that occurs in the context of the society. It requires interaction with individual patients, fellow doctors and other health care professionals, health care officials, public, institution, and the society as a whole. To date, medical practice in Korea has largely been concentrated on applying biomedical knowledge and skill to a patient. We defines 'social competency' as 'competency for medicine as a social institution.' This survey aims to grasp the current situation of Korean doctors' perception on social competency, in terms of necessity, satisfaction, learning experience, and possible intervention. Respondents generally recognized the necessity of social competencies but were not satisfied with their demonstration of those competencies. Competencies for 'understanding on law and institution' and 'communication' were perceived highly necessary. General satisfaction and each satisfaction rate on individual competencies were all below 'neutral,' showing their dissatisfaction. Especially, doctors assess their fellow doctors' competencies for 'understanding on law and institution' and 'understanding on human being and society' at the lowest level. The mismatch between perceived necessity and satisfaction shows the legitimate ground for educational intervention. The proportions of respondents who have learned on each domain of social competency were all below 70%. Learning experience on self-management and leadership was the least. Among possible remedy for low social competency, respondents perceived 'improvement on national health insurance' and 'improvement on resident training program' as the most urgently needed. The data from this preliminary survey can be utilized for educational and institutional intervention in the future.


Social competency; Medical practice; Medicine and society; Medical professionalism

MeSH Terms

Delivery of Health Care
Hand Strength
Self Care
Surveys and Questionnaires


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