Ars Cooperativa Naturae. Ethical Contingencies Across Medicine and Education: A Case Study
Contributor(s)University of New England
Medicine, Nursing and Health Curriculum and Pedagogy
Teacher Education and Professional Development of Educators
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AbstractSince the 1970s the utility and efficacy of medical ethics curricula in undergraduate programs have received heightened world-wide attention. During this time, an "ethics boom" occurred designed to counter the disappearance of ethics education and the marginalization of moral education from higher education. This "boom", witnessed in most professional programs, is also notable for its absence from teacher education programs in Australia and the US. Whilst there is a clear gap in the ethics literature for teachers, the large number of investigations in medical ethics has still not resolved uncertainty in relation to ethics education outcomes, effectiveness of teaching methods, effects of background student characteristics upon professional decisions and the ever changing social mores shaping ethical behaviours. Reported here are findings from a case study in a regional Australian university whose aims were to identify domains of mutual interest between the schools of medicine and education. The ultimate goal is to facilitate dialogue to prepare undergraduates to meet their professional obligations with a clearer understanding of the ethical contingencies of other professions. Focus interviews with students and practitioners, a survey and an examination of the ethics curricula of the two schools suggests all students would develop a greater understanding of the complex issues facing both professions if they attended a generic ethics course in the early undergraduate years. The use of real life scenarios and case study methodology applied across fields to illuminate stake holder's perspectives has been called for. Such an approach, highlighting effects of contemporary cultural norms upon ethical professional behaviours, is thought to promote reflection.