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Combating junior doctors’ “4am logic”: a challenge for medical ethics education


Undergraduate medical ethics education currently focuses on ethical concepts and reasoning. This paper uses an intern’s story of an ethically challenging situation to argue that this emphasis is problematic in terms of ensuring students’ ethical practice as junior doctors. The story suggests that it is aligning their actions with the values that they reflectively embrace that can present difficulties for junior doctors working in the pressures of the hospital environment, rather than reasoning to an ethically appropriate action. I argue that junior doctors need skills for implementing their ethical decisions and that these ought to form a central component of undergraduate medical ethics education.

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