Effectiveness of the course of medical ethics for undergraduate medical students


Judgment This study was done in order to evaluate the effectiveness of the revisions made in the course of medical ethics for undergraduate medical students.
Medical Students of Tehran University of Medical Sciences who took the course of medical ethics in a semester before the implementation of the revision and those who took the course after the implementation of the revision at the beginning and at the end of course responded to two questionnaires (one for evaluating knowledge and the other for assessing their moral judgment). Response rate was between 70 to 93.1 percent.
Students' knowledge was significantly higher in the semester after the course revision (mean ± SD: 6.12 1.3) in comparison with the semester before the reform (mean ± SD: 3.63 1.7) (P=0.001). Students' knowledge after taking this course showed an increase of about 60% when compared with their knowledge level before starting the course (P=0.001). There was no significant difference in the level of moral judgment before and after taking the revised course of medical ethics while moral judgment level of students in two semester[before (21.21 4.0) and after 15.25 2.87) reform] were significantly different (P=0.02). 
The revisions made in the course of medical ethics for medical students were effective in improving students' knowledge but could not improve their moral judgment. This could be due to the short length of this course and also the small sample size in this study. We suggest that this study should be repeated with larger sample size and also with other methods of a course evaluation.

Perkins HS, Geppert CM, Hazuda HP. Challenges in teaching ethics in medical schools. Am J Med Sci 2000; 319(5): 273-8.

Musick DW. Teaching medical ethics: a review of the literature from North American medical schools with emphasis on education. Med Health Care Philos 1999; 2(3): 239-54.

Savulescu J, Crisp R, Fulford KW, Hope T. Evaluating ethics competence in medical education. J Med Ethics 1999; 25(5): 367-74.

Goldie J. Review of ethics curricula in undergraduate medical education. Med Educ 2000 ; 34(2): 108-19.

McKneally MF, Singer PA. Bioethics for clinicians: 25. Teaching bioethics in the clinical setting. CMAJ 2001; 164(8): 1163-7.

Goldie J, Schwartz L, Morrison J. A process evaluation of medical ethics education in the first year of a new medical curriculum. Med Educ 2000; 34(6): 468-73.

Goldie J, Schwartz L, McConnachie A, Morrison J. The impact of three years' ethics teaching, in an integrated medical curriculum, on students' proposed behaviour on meeting ethical dilemmas. Med Educ 2002; 36(5): 489-97.

Smith S, Fryer-Edwards K, Diekema DS, Braddock CH 3rd. Finding effective strategies for teaching ethics: a comparison trial of two interventions. Acad Med 2004; 79(3): 265-71.

Al-Jalahma M, Fakhroo E. Teaching medical ethics: implementation and evaluation of a new course during residency training in bahrain. Educ Health (Abingdon ) 2004; 17(1): 62-72.

Sulmasy DP, Geller G, Levine DM, Faden RR. A randomized trial of ethics education for medical house officers. J Med Ethics 1993; 19(3): 157-63.

Self DJ, Schrader DE, Baldwin DC Jr., Wolinsky FD. A pilot study of the relationship of medical education and moral development. Acad Med 1991; 66(10): 629.

Slovackova B, Slovacek L. Moral judgement competence and moral attitudes of medical students. Nurs Ethics 2007; 14(3): 320-8.

Patenaude J, Niyonsenga T, Fafard D. Changes in students' moral development during medical school: a cohort study. CMAJ 2003; 168(7): 840-4.

Price J, Price D, Williams G, Hoffenberg R. Changes in medical student attitudes as they progress through a medical course. J Med Ethics 1998; 24(2): 110-7.

Hull R, Wurm-schaar M, James-Valutis M, Triggle RD. The effect of research ethics course on graduate students moral reasoning. (accessed on April 2009)

Akabayashi A, Slingsby BT, Kai I, Nishimura T, Yamagishi A. The development of a brief and objective method for evaluating moral sensitivity and reasoning in medical students. BMC Med Ethics 2004; 5: E1.

Wolf TM, Balson PM, Faucett JM, Randall HM. A retrospective study of attitude change during medical education. Med Educ 1989; 23(1): 19-23.

Self DJ, Baldwin DC, Jr., Wolinsky FD. Evaluation of teaching medical ethics by an assessment of moral reasoning. Med Educ 1992; 26(3): 178-84.

Asghari F, Mirzazadeh A, Emami Razavi H. Reform in Medical Ethics Curriculum of Undergraduate Medical Education in TUMS School of Medicine. Paper presented at: 2nd International Congress of Medical Ethics in Iran; 2008 April 16-18; Tehran, Iran.

Lind G. Scoring and Interpreting the Moral Judgment Test. University of Konstanz. ( accessed on April 2009)

Lerkiatbundit S, Utaipan P, Laohawiriyanon C, Teo A. Impact of the Konstanz method of dilemma discussion on moral judgment in allied health students: a randomized controlled study. J Allied Health 2006; 35(2): 101-8.

de Freitas SF, Kovaleski DF, Boing AF, de Oliveira WF. Stages of moral development among Brazilian dental students. J Dent Educ 2006; 70(3): 296-306.

Self DJ, Olivarez M, Baldwin DC, Jr., Shadduck JA. Clarifying the relationship of veterinary medical education and moral development. J Am Vet Med Assoc 1996; 209(12): 2002-4.

Lind G. Moral regression in medical students and their learning environment. Revista Brasileira de Educacao Médica 2000; 24(3): 24-33.

Self DJ, Olivarez M, Baldwin DC, Jr. Clarifying the relationship of medical education and moral development. Acad Med 1998; 73(5): 517-20.

Kern DE, Thomas PA, Harward DM, Bass ED. Curriculum Development for Medical Education: A Six Step Approach. Baltimore: John Hopkins Press; 1998.

IssueVol 2 (2009) QRcode
Medical ethics, Ethics education, Moral judgment test.

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Asghari F, Samadi A, Dormohammadi T. Effectiveness of the course of medical ethics for undergraduate medical students. J Med Ethics Hist Med. 2009;2.