School of Medicine

Medical Ethics

Past Programs

Student Literature & Medicine Discussion Group Fall 2006/Spring 2007

Faculty Facilitators: Tess Jones, PhD, and Mark Matheson, PhD, Division of Medical Ethics and Humanities

Required 4th Year Medical Student course in Medical Ethics

The timing and content of this course are based on two assumptions. First, that 4th year medical students have had sufficient exposure to clinical medicine to appreciate the relevance and importance of their ethical issues in medicine. Second, that medical ethics presents issues of sufficient importance that all medical students must have a solid foundation in these issues and concepts before they begin their post-graduate training.

 Course Objectives

  • Explore the complexities of ethical issues in the practice of medicine.
  • Provide a foundation of philosophical and moral reasoning skills.
  • Encourage reflection on personal and professional moral commitments in the practice of medicine and promote discussion between professionals.
  • Employ this knowledge and these skills in a clinical setting.

Course Themes

  • Introduction to Medical Ethics
  • Informed Consent in Clinical Medicine and Research
  • Ethical Theory and Difficult Cases
  • Medical Mistakes
  • Palliative Care and End of Life Issues
  • Justice--Access to Health care
  • Health Law--Friend or Foe?
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Doctors Dealing with Disasters
  • What Constitutes a "Good" Doctor?

Medical Professionalism / Patient-Physician Relationship

The Patient-Physician Relationship is a component of Medical Professionalism, a first year medical student course. The following two small group sessions are a beginner's guide to medical professionalism both as a dynamic activity of contemporary practice and as a set of values and virtues associated with the noble and ancient history of medicine. The materials for these sessions include:

  • Readings for discussion
  • One "outside" writing assignment due at Session 1
  • One "in class" brainstorming session due during Session II

Session I - "Contemporary Professionalism and Professional Virtues”

Objectives of this small group session are:

  • To define professionalism as it is understood in the contemporary practice of medicine
  • To identify professional virtues such as compassion and respectfulness; honesty and integrity; courage and conscientiousness
  • To discuss literary selections and case stories as examples of ethical and professional conflicts

Session II: "Oaths, Codes and Rules of Professionalism”

The objectives of this small group session are:

  • To distinguish among the historical documents of medical professionalism
  • To identify those virtues, values and behaviors that define professionalism
  • To record those qualities and behaviors for a code of professionalism for the class of 2010