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Autonomy, problem-based learning, and the teaching of medical ethics.
  1. M Parker
  1. University of Queensland, Australia.


    Autonomy has been the central principle underpinning changes which have affected the practice of medicine in recent years. Medical education is undergoing changes as well, many of which are underpinned, at least implicitly, by increasing concern for autonomy. Some universities have embarked on graduate courses which utilize problem-based learning (PBL) techniques to teach all areas, including medical ethics. I argue that PBL is a desirable method for teaching and learning in medical ethics. It is desirable because the nature of ethical enquiry is highly compatible with the learning processes which characterize PBL. But it is also desirable because it should help keep open the question of what autonomy really is, and how it should operate within the sphere of medical practice and medical education.

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