Ethics education in undergraduate pre-health programs. The contribution of undergraduate colleges and universities to the ethical and moral development of future doctors in the medical and dental professions.Tex Dent J. 2011 Aug; 128(8):698-706.TD
There are many barriers to ethics education of students attending medical and dental schools. The question is asked, "Should more attention be given to addressing students' ethics education during their undergraduate years of preparation for professional healthcare programs?" This qualitative study utilizes digitally recorded personal interviews with two undergraduate pre-healthcare students, one medical student, one recently matriculated dental student, one undergraduate pre-healthcare faculty member, three dental school faculty members, and three medical school faculty members. Interview participants discuss areas of personal knowledge and experience concerning: the admissions process and screening of potential medical/dental students for ethical traits and behaviors, influences on student ethical development, undergraduate pre-healthcare ethics training, and preferred college major for pre-healthcare students. The study concludes that undergraduate pre-healthcare programs should take the initiative to be proactive and deliberate in strengthening the positive influences on students. Strategies include: 1) humanities curricula to broaden perspectives and increase non-prejudice; 2) mentoring and modeling by older students, faculty, and community and professional volunteers; 3) ethical case study discussions in class or extracurricular activities; and 4) volunteer/service learning activities. Additionally, curriculum learning is enhanced by the use of reflection and writing, discussions, and media.