This paper addresses ethical concerns emanating from the practice of using patients for health care education. It shows how some of the ways that patients are used in educational strategies to bridge theory-practice gaps can cause harm to patients and patient-practitioner relationships, thus failing to meet acceptable standards of professional practice. This will continue unless there is increased awareness of the need for protection of human rights in teaching situations. Unnecessary exposure of patients, failing to obtain explicit consent, causing harm to vulnerable or disadvantaged groups and inappropriate use of information, though normally regarded as unacceptable professional practices, may go unrecognised in meeting educational needs, widening rather than narrowing theory-practice gaps.
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