Awareness about medical ethics among undergraduates after introduction of humanities in curriculum

Remya Raj Rajamohanan, Manjiri Phansalkar, Sheela Kuruvila


Background: Modern day medicine is full of ethical challenges. A structured training in ethics can help doctors in choosing the best course of action during an ethical dilemma. It will be interesting to explore the knowledge and aptitude regarding bioethics in medical students who are already undergoing structured modules on humanities.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was done involving final year part I, final year part II medical students and interns using a validated semi-structured self-administered questionnaire. Questions were predominantly about doctor patient relationship which could be assessed using Likert scale.

Results: Acceptable response of over 70% was seen only in response to two questions, both on respect for person. Majority of students did not have a clear concept about consent, privacy and confidentiality. However, most of them gave acceptable response to respecting patient and his wishes. There were many fence sitters in response to the questions regarding paternalistic attitude of doctors and physician autonomy. Majority of students did not give acceptable response in questions pertaining to beneficence and justice. No significant difference was seen between the various phases of medical education.

Conclusions: The students were not clear about most aspects of doctor patient relationship like physician autonomy, confidentiality and consent. We need to revamp our teaching to increase understanding of ethics among our medical students.


Bioethics, Medical ethics, Undergraduates, Humanities, Curriculum

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