Education for Health

: 2016  |  Volume : 29  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 10--15

Learning professional ethics: Student experiences in a health mentor program

Sylvia Langlois1, Erin Lymer2 
1 Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Medicine, Faculty Lead IPE Curriculum and Scholarship, Centre for Interprofessional Education, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
2 Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Sylvia Langlois
Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy, University of Toronto, Rehabilitation Sciences Building, 160-500 University Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1V7

Background: The use of patient centred approaches to healthcare education is evolving, yet the effectiveness of these approaches in relation to professional ethics education is not well understood. The aim of this study was to explore the experiences and learning of health profession students engaged in an ethics module as part of a Health Mentor Program at the University of Toronto. Methods: Students were assigned to interprofessional groups representing seven professional programs and matched with a health mentor. The health mentors, individuals living with chronic health conditions, shared their experiences of the healthcare system through 90 minute semi-structured interviews with the students. Following the interviews, students completed self-reflective papers and engaged in facilitated asynchronous online discussions. Thematic analysis of reflections and discussions was used to uncover pertaining to student experiences and learning regarding professional ethics. Results: Five major themes emerged from the data: (1) Patient autonomy and expertise in care; (2) ethical complexity and its inevitable reality in the clinical practice setting; (3) patient advocacy as an essential component of day-to-day practice; (4) qualities of remarkable clinicians that informed personal ideals for future practice; (5) patients' perspectives on clinician error and how they enabled suggestions for improving future practice. Discussion: The findings of a study in one university context suggest that engagement with the health mentor narratives facilitated students' critical reflection related to their understanding of the principles of healthcare ethics.

How to cite this article:
Langlois S, Lymer E. Learning professional ethics: Student experiences in a health mentor program.Educ Health 2016;29:10-15

How to cite this URL:
Langlois S, Lymer E. Learning professional ethics: Student experiences in a health mentor program. Educ Health [serial online] 2016 [cited 2020 Oct 26 ];29:10-15
Available from:;year=2016;volume=29;issue=1;spage=10;epage=15;aulast=Langlois;type=0