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Teach Learn Med. 2017 Jan-Mar;29(1):75-84. doi: 10.1080/10401334.2016.1205497. Epub 2016 Jul 28.

Project on the Good Physician: A Proposal for a Moral Intuitionist Model of Virtuous Caring.

Author information

1
a Department of Psychology , Point Loma Nazarene University , San Diego , California , USA.
2
b Center for Health and Social Sciences, University of Chicago , Chicago , Illinois , USA.
3
c Trent Center for Bioethics, Humanities, & History of Medicine, Duke University , Durham , North Carolina , USA.
4
d MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics, Department of Medicine, University of Chicago , Chicago , Illinois , USA.

Abstract

THEORY:

In the Project on the Good Physician, the authors endeavor to advance medical character education by proposing and testing a moral intuitionist model of virtuous caring that may be applicable to physician training. This model proposes that the moral intuition to care/harm motivates students to extend care to those in need.

HYPOTHESES:

Hypothesis 1: Medical students will report stronger preferences for the intuition to Care/harm over other moral intuitions in clinical decision making. Hypothesis 2: Care/harm will have the strongest correlation with Generosity than the other moral intuitions. Hypothesis 3: There will be positive associations between Care/harm and the caring virtues (Mindfulness, Empathic Compassion, and Generosity). Hypotheses 4-5: The virtue of Empathic Compassion (or Mindfulness) will moderate the relationship between Care/harm and Generosity. Hypotheses 6-7: Neuroticism (or Burnout) will negatively moderate the association between Care/harm and Generosity (or between Empathic Compassion and Generosity).

METHOD:

The authors used data from a 2011 nationally representative sample of U.S. medical students (N = 500) to test the relationship between the moral intuition to Care/harm and physician caring virtues. Moral intuitions were assessed using the Moral Foundations Questionnaire, whereas physician virtues were measured using scales adapted from validated constructs.

RESULTS:

The authors found that students reported stronger preferences for the intuition to Care/harm over the four other moral intuitions. Each moral foundation was weakly but significantly correlated with Generosity, yet Care/harm had the strongest correlation among them. Neuroticism and Burnout did not weaken the link between Care/harm and the virtues.

CONCLUSIONS:

Data from the descriptive-correlational study reported here offer preliminary support for the construct validity of an educational model that targets the moral intuitions. The article concludes with a discussion of the implications of a moral intuitionist approach for medical character education and offers three hypotheses for future empirical research.

KEYWORDS:

Medical character education; caring virtues; moral intuitionism; relationship-centered care; social intuitionist model

PMID:
27466977
DOI:
10.1080/10401334.2016.1205497
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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