Date of Award

January 2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning

First Advisor

Ryan Summers


Professionalism is a required curricular component in accredited medical laboratory science (MLS) programs in the United States and is a critical element for career success and optimal patient care. A standardized definition of professionalism in MLS, however, has yet to be established. This poses a challenge to MLS programs when pertaining to teaching professionalism to MLS students. To explore a novel method for teaching professionalism in MLS, interactive and virtually simulated case studies were designed and built to cover three professional behaviors required of MLS professionals. Before and after case study completion, students (n= 49) responded to a survey designed using the theory of planned behavior, measuring the constructs of attitude, perceived behavioral control, subjective norms, and intentions as predictors of behavior. Students were also asked to define professionalism in MLS before and after completing the case studies.According to survey results, upon completion of the virtually simulated case studies, the impact of subjective norms on students’ professional behavior increased significantly (p < .05). Elements of subjective norms were also present in students’ definitions of professionalism in MLS. As compared to their initial definitions, students’ revised definitions of professionalism in MLS exhibited more concrete ideas such as examples of what professional behavior looks like and examples of the outcomes of such behavior, demonstrating learning due to the virtually simulated case studies. The findings of this study provide MLS educators with insight regarding a standardized definition of professionalism in MLS along with evidence of an effective teaching method for professionalism skills required of MLS students.