Vol 6 (2013)

Published: 2013-10-30


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    Lecture is the most common teaching method used in ethics education, while problem-based learning (PBL) and small group discussion (SGD) have been introduced as more useful methods. This study compared these methods in teaching medical ethics.
    Twenty students (12 female and 8 male) were randomly assigned into two groups. The PBL method was used in one group, and the other group was taught using the SGD method. Twenty-five open-ended questions were used for assessment and at the end of the course, a course evaluation sheet was used to obtain the students' views about the advantages and disadvantages of each teaching method, their level of satisfaction with the course, their interest in attending the sessions, and their opinions regarding the effect of teaching ethics on students' behaviors.
    The mean score in the PBL group (16.04 ± 1.84) was higher than the SGD group (15.48 ± 2.01). The satisfaction rates in the two groups were 3.00 ± 0.47 and 2.78 ± 0.83 respectively. These differences were not statistically significant.
    Since the mean score and satisfaction rate in the PBL group were higher than the SGD group, the PBL method is recommended for ethics education whenever possible.

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    Understanding the complexities of a provider-patient relationship is considered to be of critical importance especially in medical ethics. It is important to understand this relation from the perspectives of all stakeholders. This article derives from a qualitative study conducted across six obstetric care providing institutions in the cities of Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, India, over a period of 10 months. Thirty obstetricians were interviewed in-depth to understand what they perceived as the most important aspect in developing a good provider-patient relationship.
    The study found that while most providers highlighted the point of communication as the most critical part of the provider-patient relationship, they admitted that they could not engage in communication with the patients for various reasons. Obstetric consultants and residents said that they were too overburdened to spend time communicating with patients; providers working in public hospitals added that the lack of education of their patients posed a hindrance in effective communication. However, providers practicing in private institutions explained that they faced a challenge in communicating with patients because their patients came from educated families who tended to trust the provider less and were generally more critical of the provider's clinical judgement.
    The article shows how provider-patient communication exists as an idea among medical providers but is absent in daily clinical practice. This gives rise to a discourse shaped around an absence. The authors conclude by decoding the term ‘communication' - they read the word against the context of its use in the interviews, and argue that for the providers ‘communication' was not intended to be a trope towards setting up a dialogue-based, egalitarian provider-patient relationship. Providers used the word in lieu of ‘counselling', ‘guiding', ‘talking to'.
    It concludes that, despite the providers' insisting on the significance of communication and complaining about its absence, what they desired in reality was not the possibility of a dialogue with the patient or a chance to be able to share decision-making power with the patient, but to be able to provide better instructions and chart out what was best for them in a more detailed way.

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    Addressing patients' rights issues brings occupational therapists ethical and political responsibilities that involve patients' privileges and new facilitating factors which influence their needs. The goal of this study was to determine the level of occupational therapists' knowledge about patients' rights.
    The present research was a cross-sectional study which involved 125 occupational therapists chosen by a conven-ience sampling strategy in Tehran during the year of 2012. A four-part questionnaire was used for data collection, and the degree of the subjects' self-assessment of their knowledge was measured based on the obtained numbers of correct answers in the third part. The validity and reliability of this questionnaire were assessed prior to its being distributed among participants.
    The results demonstrated no significant association between the level of occupational therapists' knowledge about patients' rights and their existing experiences within their areas of occupational therapy (P>0.05). Based on the result, 53.6% of the respondents had high level of knowledge about patients' rights. Facilitating factors which influence the attainment of patients' rights were classified into three groups: organizations, therapists and clients.
    The results of the present research demonstrated that the level of occupational therapists' knowledge about patients' rights were high. Furthermore, this study showed that for optimal result, there is a need to provide milieu for observing the patients' rights in clinical occupational therapy services.

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    Interaction of pharmaceutical companies (PC) with healthcare services has been a reason for concern. In medicine, awareness of the ethical implications of these interactions have been emphasized upon, while this issue has not been highlighted in dentistry. This study undertook a cross-sectional rapid assessment procedure to gather views of dentists in various institutions towards unethical practices in health care and pharmaceutical industry. The purpose of this study was to assess the need for the formulation and implementation of guidelines for the interaction of dentists with the pharmaceutical and device industry in the best interest of patients.
    A group of 209 dentists of Lahore including faculty members, demonstrators, private practitioners and fresh graduates responded to a questionnaire to assess their attitudes and practices towards pharmaceutical companies' marketing gifts.
    The study was conducted during 2011 and provided interesting data that showed the pharmaceutical industry is approaching private practitioners more frequently than academicians and fresh graduates. Private practioners accepted the gifts but mostly recognized them as unethical (over 65%). Both groups considered sponsoring of on-campus lectures as acceptable (over 70%).
    Respondents are not fully aware of the ethical demands which are imperative for all health care industries, and there is a dire need of strict guidelines and code of ethics for the dentist's interaction with the pharmaceutical and device industry so that patient interest is protected.

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    Complexity of health care has caused ethical dilemmas and moral distress to be quite unavoidable for nurses. Moral distress is a major, highly prevalent problem in the nursing profession. The study aims to investigate the effect of education based on the "4A model" on the rate of moral distress among the nurses working in Cardiac Care Units (CCU).
    The participants consisted of 60 nurses working in Cardiac Care Units (CCU), 30 in the control and 30 in the intervention group. Those in the intervention group took part in the educational workshop about "moral distress" and "4A model". The moral distress questionnaire was completed by both study groups 1 and 2 months after the intervention. After the intervention, the results of repeated measures analysis of variance revealed a significant difference in the moral distress mean scores between the intervention and the control groups (P<0.001) and within the two groups (P<0.001). Moreover, a significant difference was found between the two study groups regarding the mean score of moral distress 1 and 2 months after the intervention. The findings of the current study revealed a decreasing trend in the moral distress mean score in the intervention group, while there was an increasing trend in the control group after the intervention.
    It can be concluded that the "4A model" can be used for reducing moral distress and educational interventions can reduce the rate of moral distress among nurses. Authors of this study recommend that more studies with larger sample sizes be conducted in different hospital wards as well.

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    Education needs assessment is one of the essential components of curriculum development. In this study, we aimed to assess the educational needs of general physicians for medical ethics.
    We conducted a three-stage Delphi study of general physicians' views on important ethical issues in their practice. In the item generation stage we retrieved 45 important educational items from a survey of general physicians, patients, well known ethical clinicians, and a review of other universities' curricula and international literature. The questionnaire was designed to ask the importance of each generated item. We then sent the questionnaire to general physicians. Items scored as highly important by more than 80% of the respondents in the first or second consensus development surveys were considered as educational priorities. Four academic medical ethics teachers reviewed and commented on the findings.
    The response rate to the first consensus development survey was 38%, of whom 77% also responded to the second survey. We developed consensus on 24 medical ethics items for inclusion in medical ethics curriculum. All items were also considered important by medical ethics teachers, and they added four further items to the list.
    Despite the attention given to ethical issues originating from technological advances, the most important educational needs of general physicians in medical ethics are still the traditional issues concerning the doctor-patient relationship and professionalism.