Background: In responding to the debate about the place of professionalism in the student curriculum, it became clear there was no existing consensus as to the definition of professionalism.
Aims: The aim of this review was to determine how professionalism is defined and discussed in contemporary pharmacy literature.
Method: We searched The Pharmaceutical Journal, MEDLINE, ERIC, PsychINFO, PsychARTICLE, PubMed, Academic Search Complete and Embase. Articles were selected according to their relevance to the research questions.
Results: A total of 58 articles published since 1998 were selected for full review. The articles identified 55 different components of professionalism.
Conclusion: There remains a lack of consensus around the definition of professionalism, as evidenced by the range of literature and diversity of definitional terms. Many of the character traits relate to complex concepts such as empathy and integrity. The challenge for pharmacy education is in integrating these complex areas into the curriculum.