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Talking about cases in bioethics: the effect of an intensive course on health care professionals
  1. Janet I Malek,
  2. Gail Geller,
  3. Jeremy Sugarman
  1. Rice University, Houston, Texas, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland and Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA, respectively


    Educational efforts in bioethics are prevalent, but little is known about their efficacy. Although previous work indicates that courses in bioethics have a demonstrable effect on medical students, it has not examined their effect on health care professionals. In this report, we describe a study designed to investigate the effect of bioethics education on health care professionals. At the Intensive Bioethics Course, a six-day course held annually at Georgetown University, we administered a questionnaire requiring open-ended responses to vignettes both before and after the course. Following the course, respondents defended their responses more carefully and articulated their thoughts more clearly. In addition, after the course respondents seemed to have a more subtle understanding of the relevant issues in the cases and applied theory to these cases more frequently. These findings help to formulate an understanding of the effect of bioethics education on health care professionals.

    • Bioethics education
    • questionnaire
    • health care professionals

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    • Janet I Malek, BS, is a Graduate Student in the Department of Philosophy, Rice University, Houston, Texas, USA. Gail Geller, ScD, is Associate Professor at the Center for Genetics and Public Policy Studies and the Bioethics Institute, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA. Jeremy Sugarman, MD, MPH, MA, is Director of the Center for the Study of Medical Ethics and Humanities and Associate Professor of Medicine and Philosophy, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, USA. Correspondence: Dr Jeremy Sugarman, Box 3040, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina 27710, United States of America.

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