According to the work of Fulford (1994) in an Oxford Practice Skills Project Report "Three elements of practice (ethics, law and communication skills) are approached in an integrated teaching programme which aims to address everyday clinical practice. The role of a central value of patient-centered health care in guiding the teaching is described. Although the final aim of the teaching is to improve the actual practice, we have found three 'sub-aims' helpful in the development of the programme. These sub-aims are: increasing students' awareness of ethical issues; enhancing their analytical thinking skills, and teaching specific knowledge. (Hope, 1994)
In the work of Miles, et al. (1989) entitled "Medical Ethics Education: Coming of Age it is stated that "medical ethics education is instruction that endeavors to teach the examination of the role of values in the doctor's relationship with patients, colleagues and society. It is one form of a broad curricular effort to develop physician's values, social perspectives, and interpersonal skills for the practice of medicine. The authors define medical ethics education as more clinically centered than human values education and more inclusive of philosophical, social, and legal issues than is interpersonal skills training."
According to Calman & Downie (1987) in their work entitled Practical Problems in the Teaching of Ethics to Medical Students: Practical problems do exist in the teaching of ethics to students in medical school. "The use of students projects, buzz groups, case histories and discussion points" are all described and stated is that "there is a need for student assessment or examination at the end of this course....[and the] teachers require a broad background in philosophy, clinical medicine and teaching skills."
In the work of Musick (1999) stated is that "efforts to reform medical education have emphasized the need to formalize instruction in medical ethics. However, the discipline of medical ethics education is still searching for an acceptable identity among north American medical schools; in these schools, no real consensus exists on it definition. Medical educators are grappling with not only what to teach (content) in this regard, but also with how to teach (process) ethics to the physicians of tomorrow." (Musick, 1999)
Summary and Conclusion
It is clear that the teaching assistant in the medical ethics course must be just as prepared, just as educated, just as clinically experienced as the practicing physician. In fact, it is highly advisable that the teacher who utilizes teaching assistants choose carefully whom they will expose their medical students in training and education of ethics to. A wrong turn at this juncture in the education of a future practicing physician will be illustrated in a ways that will never quit returning results and outcomes both personally for the physician and for society either very negatively or very positively depending upon the role model and instruction provided in the medical ethics curriculum and instructional practice. All institutions of medical education will be well advised to consider carefully and weigh attentively the options presented to the school in terms of the abilities and attitudes of the teaching assistant in medical ethics curriculum.
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