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ORIGINAL RESEARCH ARTICLE
Year : 2017  |  Volume : 30  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 35-43

Medical ethics education in China: Lessons from three schools


1 Department of Medicine, Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA
2 Department of Health Science Center, Peking University, Beijing Shi, China
3 Department of Cardiology, Zhongnan Hospital, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
4 Institute of Humanities and Social Science, Guangzhou Medical University, Guangdong Sheng, China
5 Department of Resource and Environmental Science, Renmin Hospital, Wuhan University, Wuhan, China
6 Department of Anthropology, University of Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Correspondence Address:
Renslow Sherer
Department of Medicine, University of Chicago, 5841, S. Maryland Avenue, MC 5065, Chicago, IL 60637
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.210501

Background: Ethics teaching is a relatively new area of medical education in China, with ethics curricula at different levels of development. This study examined ethics education at three medical schools in China to understand their curricular content, teaching and learning methods, forms of assessments, changes over time, and what changes are needed for further improvement. Methods: We used student and faculty surveys to obtain information about the ethics courses' content, teaching methods, and revisions over time. The surveys also included five realistic cases and asked participants whether each would be appropriate to use for discussion in ethics courses. Students rated the cases on a scale and gave written comments. Finally, participants were asked to indicate how much they would agree with the statement that medical professionalism is about putting the interests of patients and society above one's own. Results: There were both similarities and differences among these schools with regard to course topics, teaching and assessment methods, and course faculty compositions, suggesting their courses are at different levels of development. Areas of improvement for the schools' courses were identified based on this study's findings and available literature. A model of the evolution of medical ethics education in China was proposed to guide reform in medical ethics instruction in China. Analysis identified characteristics of appropriate cases and participants' attitudes toward the ideal of professionalism. Discussion: We conclude that the development of medical ethics education in China is promising while much improvement is needed. In addition, ethics education is not confined to the walls of medical schools; the society at large can have significant influence on the formation of students' professional values.


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