Diversity in approach to teaching and assessing ethics education for medical undergraduates: A scoping review

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Annals of Medicine and Surgery


There are diverse methods to teach medical ethics, and there is no single accepted approach towards its learning and assessment. The authors aim to explore the various strategies practised to teach undergraduate medical students the fundamentals of medical ethics and their evaluation. The authors reviewed the articles published from January 2014 to September 2019. The authors searched PubMed for the relevant publications and extracted the information using a data extraction sheet. Twenty-nine articles were included for the review, which fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Case-based discussions were a widely accepted strategy to learn ethics. The studies highlighted a mixed teaching approach using multiple teaching tools. A qualitative approach was preferred for the assessment through reflections, simulated patient interactions, and development of portfolios. However, there are gaps in the existing literature on the assessment strategies for ethics education. Heterogeneity still exists in the planning of the curricula, teaching, and assessment methods. These curricula suit the cultural and religious set up of that particular country. Case-based discussion is a popular teaching strategy, and there exist numerous innovative and cost-effective active teaching strategies. There is a need for studies that are more rigorous to address the evaluation of the ethics curricula. This review would help educators to choose their preferred approach based on their teaching environment.

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