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Report Offers Guidance on Medical Ethics Education

Novel approaches to learning encouraged, such as flipped classroom, use of reflective narratives

WEDNESDAY, June 10, 2015 (HealthDay News) — An analysis of the current state of medical ethics education in the United States has been published in the June issue of Academic Medicine. The article, the Romanell Report, also offers guidance to assist medial ethics educators in meeting expectations.

Joseph A. Carrese, M.D., M.P.H., from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues discussed medical ethics in medical education and training, offering guidance on the specific goals of medical ethics education, essential knowledge and skills, best pedagogical methods and processes, and optimal assessment strategies.

The authors propose objectives for medical ethics education, which include understanding the concept of a physician as a fiduciary; recognizing ethical issues that may arise during patient care; using relevant ethical statements to guide judgment and decision making; use of critical and systematic thinking in ethical problems; and articulating ethical reasoning coherently. Teaching approaches should include use of lectures, presentation of clinical cases, and trigger tapes, as well as inviting learners to write reflective narratives. Medical ethics instruction should involve collaboration from different disciplines. Learner-driven teaching strategies should be adopted, as well as use of role-play scenarios and online strategies such as flipped classroom approaches. Learners should be able to manage ethical challenges in a professional manner in areas that range from protection of patient privacy and confidentiality to social media use.

“We believe that the medical ethics curriculum can be improved by focusing it on professional formation as preparation for a lifelong commitment to professionalism in patient care, education, and research,” the authors write.

Several authors disclosed ties to the Academy for Professionalism in Health Care.

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