Mohamed, Ghanem and Kassem conducted a study on residents in three hospitals affiliated to Alexandria University’s Medical School to assess the availability and the needs for medical ethics training. The study surveyed 255 residents from 16 different clinical departments between August 2009 and September 2010. The questionnaire assessed ‘the planning, the teaching, the assessment and staff’ of medical ethics education besides the demographics of sex, year of residentship and speciality of respondents.
Only 128 residents responded to the survey of which 50.8% were males and the rest females. The sample contained almost 24% internists, 16% family medicine residents, 6% pediatricians and 3% psychiatrists. The remainder 50% encompassed gynecology/obstetrics, emergency medicine, dermatologists and radiologists residents. The sample constituted first year Master students (13%), second year and fourth year (24% each) and third year Master students (28%). All respondents indicated the bulk of medical ethics training is received during their second year Master training and more than half thought it was inefficacious.
Fifty six percent of those surveyed stated the course was poorly planned with significant difference (P=0.042) in replies according to gender where more males (61%) complained of poor curriculum planning than females. In addition, 85% of respondents stated the course was not customized according to speciality but was mostly generic and almost 70% complained it was delivered either prematurely or belatedly in their residency programs. Three quarters stated the medical ethics course was too short and theoretical while above 80% indicated receiving the training in overstuffed lecture halls with deficient resources such as video audio facilities to give such courses. In addition, the majority (above 90%) complained of the shortages of practical sessions and over dependence on one way form of pedagogy.
Regarding the assessment of the course, the majority of respondents (86%) said they were tested on the knowledge rather than the skills to pass an ethical judgement. There was lack of regular feedback to graduate students on their performance during the course as stated by 73% of respondents. Regarding staff, the respondents indicated shortage of staff, their lack of training/qualifications in medical ethics, were too busy and lacked motivation to teach (67%, 19%, 61% and 63% respectively).
Most respondent stated the need for well trained staff in medical ethics and the course should be incorporated in the clinical courses and linked to post graduate courses. The majority of respondents suggested case and problem based teaching methods and clinical attachments to ethics education.
To read the full article and more about results please use the link Problems and perceived needs for medical ethics education of resident physicians in Alexandria teaching hospitals, Egypt