American Journal of Bioethics.

Ethics and Professionalism: What Does a Resident Need to Learn?

Training in ethics and professionalism is a fundamental component of residency education, yet there is little empirical information to guide curricula. The objective of this study is to describe empirically derived ethics objectives for ethics and professionalism training for multiple specialties. Study design is a thematic analysis of documents, semi-structured interviews, and focus groups conducted in a setting of an academic medical center, Veterans Administration, and community hospital training more than 1000 residents. Participants were 84 informants in 13 specialties including residents, program directors, faculty, practicing physicians, and ethics committees. Thematic analysis identified commonalities across informants and specialties. Resident and nonresident informants identified consent, interprofessional relationships, family interactions, communication skills, and end-of-life care as essential components of training. Nonresidents also emphasized formal ethics instruction, resource allocation, and self-monitoring, whereas residents emphasized the learning environment and resident-attending interactions. Conclusions are that empirically derived learning needs for ethics and professionalism included many topics, such as informed consent and resource allocation, relevant for most specialties, providing opportunities for shared curricula and resources.

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Volume 6, Issue 4
July 2006