Professionalism and Medical Ethics

First Semester - 1 Credit Hour - PRCN-647

While many people claim to be professional or to act in professional ways, there is a growing demand for moral behavior amongst professionals. This course will provide a values-based approach to ethical professionalism and provide a method of thinking about and dealing with ethical issues that will be encountered in the education, work and medical environments. Essentially, the course will provide a discussion of what professionalism is and what it means to constantly and consistently act professionally. We will focus on an in-depth analysis of the ethical principles that are fundamental to any professional: integrity, respect for persons, justice, compassion, beneficence and nonmaleficence, and responsibility. In addition, the course will focus on some of the ethical and moral issues facing people in the profession of medicine. Lastly, students will be informed of expected behaviors for their clinical rotation years.

The Professionalism and Medical Ethics course will focus primarily on three of the core osteopathic principles: patient care, interpersonal and communication skills, and professionalism. Through a hearty discussion of the obligations of the physician-patient relationship and identification of tools to enhance empathy the student will begin to embody traits necessary for successful patient care. This course also allows students to discuss difficult and sometimes controversial topics in a safe environment improving their ability to relate to others with differing views and to improve their verbal communication skills. Furthermore, students will gain insight into the impact health literacy plays in ethical conflict. They will have an opportunity to practice distilling complex medical information into lay-person terms when discussing ethical concerns and possible outcomes. Professionalism will be part of every session with the bioethical principles, as well as awareness of cultural differences, being applied consistent throughout the course to the cases presented. Assessment and feedback relating to the mastery of these competencies will be provided informally during class discussion and formally via a written assignment and a board style multiple choice exam at the end of the term.