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Resident-generated versus instructor-generated cases in ethics and professionalism training

Author(s): Kon Alexander

Journal: Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine
ISSN 1747-5341

Volume: 1;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 10;
Date: 2006;
Original page

Abstract Background The emphasis on ethics and professionalism in medical education continues to increase. Indeed, in the United States the ACGME will require residency programs to include professionalism training in all curricula by 2007. Most courses focus on cases generated by the course instructors rather than on cases generated by the trainees. To date, however, there has been no assessment of the utility of these two case discussion formats. In order to determine the utility of instructor-generated cases (IGCs) versus resident-generated cases (RGCs) in ethics and professionalism training, the author developed an innovative course that included both case formats. The IGCs were landmark cases and cases from the experience of the course instructors, while the RGCs were selected by the residents themselves. Residents were then surveyed to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each format. Results Of twenty-two second and third year residents, fourteen completed surveys (response rate 64%). Residents were nearly evenly split in preferring RGCs (38%), IGCs (31%), or not preferring one to the other (31%). 29% stated that they learn more from the RGCs, 21% stated that they learn more from the IGCs, and 50% stated that they did not find a difference in their learning based on format. In general, residents surveyed prefer a mix of formats. Residents tended to find the RGCs more relevant and interesting, and felt the IGCs were necessary to ensure adequate breadth of cases and concepts. Conclusion Based on our relatively small sample at a single institution, we believe that educators should consider incorporating both instructor-generated and resident-generated cases in their ethics and professionalism curricula, and should evaluate the utility of such a model at their own institution. Further work is needed to illuminate other potential improvements in ethics and professionalism education.
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