STUDENTS’ VIEWS ON THE ROLE OF ETHICS EDUCATION FOR THEIR FUTURE MEDICAL PRACTICE
Keywords:bioethics, medical ethics education, ethical dilemmas
INTRODUCTION: Worldwide, in different ways, ethical dilemmas arise in medicine and life sciences. It is critical for medical professionals to respond with confidence when ethical challenges are addressed in their clinical practice. Medical ethics and bioethics education is recognized as an essential course of the medical curriculum. The course aims to provide students with knowledge and competencies on dealing with moral problems.
OBJECTIVES: In this article, we aim to explore students’ views about the importance and role of medical ethics education for their future practice. Their suggestions on specific medical ethics and bioethics topics were also considered, as well as previous knowledge on ethics before they enrolled in university.
METHODS: A paper questionnaire was developed and distributed among first-year foreign medical students from the Faculty of Medicine in the Medical University-Sofia in Bulgaria. All students participated in the study anonymously and voluntarily. The study was conducted during January and February 2020.
RESULTS: Completed questionnaires were received from 366 medical students. Data collected demonstrates that only 19% of the students were taught ethics before enrolling in university and covered topics on philosophy and ethics, civil and human rights. The majority (92%) of the responders believe that the study of medical ethics and bioethics helps medical professionals to improve their skills in identifying ethical problems in their everyday practice. Interesting were the suggestions for topics in medical ethics and bioethics that needed further study during lectures and seminars and included principles of medical ethics and bioethics, ethical behavior in medicine and health care, ethical dimensions of new technologies in health care, ethical dimensions of clinical decisions and patients’ quality of life, ethics and health management.
CONCLUSIONS: Medical ethics education is significant for future physicians, helping them to improve their skills in identifying ethical issues, and base their decisions on fundamental ethical principals in their everyday practice. Attention should be given to topics related to principles of medical ethics, models of patient-physician relationships, new technologies in health care, ethics and health policy.
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