Since the founding of the University of Limburg (1974), in The Netherlands, an innovative medical curriculum has been guided by educational principles of problem-orientation, continuous assessment, student initiative and attitude development. The teaching of medical ethics was built into the preclinical curriculum from the start. However, the clinical years remained largely unaffected, and only recently has an effort been made to extend the educational philosophy to this more or less traditional part of medical education. Within this context, an experiment of clinical ethics teaching was introduced in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology (Ob/Gyn) clerkships. The objectives, methods and results of this experimental programme are described in this paper. The success of the teaching is based on three features of the programme: 1) its student-centred approach; 2) the programme is designed in a way similar to regular patient conferences; 3) the programme is taught by a team consisting of both clinician and ethicist. Before starting a longitudinal programme of ethics teaching during the clinical years, it proved very helpful to experiment with a well designed and evaluated pilot programme.
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