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Med Teach. 2007 Jun;29(5):431-6.

How can we know that ethics education produces ethical doctors?

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Centre for Biomedical Ethics, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore.


This article examines the challenges that medical ethics education faces, given its aim of producing ethical doctors. Starting with an account of the ethical doctor, it then inquires into the key areas of medical students' ethical development, viz. knowledge, habituation and action, and describes more specific outcomes in these areas. Methods of teaching aimed at achieving specific outcomes are also discussed. The authors then turn to some difficulties that stand in the way of achieving the desired outcomes of medical ethics education, and survey what has been achieved so far, by considering a number of studies that have evaluated the efficacy of a range of medical ethics courses. The article concludes by suggesting that medical ethics education should give attention to the problems of evaluation of ethics curricula as the discipline comes of age.

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