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J Med Ethics. 2012 Aug;38(8):501-5. doi: 10.1136/medethics-2011-100468. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Clinical ethics ward rounds: building on the core curriculum.

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School of Public Health and Community Medicine, Universityof New South Wales, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


The clinical years of medical student education are an ideal time for students to practise and refine ethical thinking and behaviour. We piloted a new clinical ethics teaching activity this year with undergraduate medical students within the Rural Clinical School at the University of New South Wales. We used a modified teaching ward round model, with students bringing deidentified cases of ethical interest for round-table discussion. We found that students were more engaged in the subject of clinical ethics after attending the teaching sessions and particularly appreciated having structured time to listen to and learn from their peers. Despite this, we found no change in student involvement in managing or planning action in situations that they find ethically challenging. A key challenge for educators in clinical ethics is to address the barriers that prevent students taking action.

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