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Feasibility of an ethics and professionalism curriculum for faculty in obstetrics and gynecology: a pilot study


Objective There have been increased efforts to implement medical ethics curricula at the student and resident levels; however, practising physicians are often left unconsidered. Therefore, we sought to pilot an ethics and professionalism curriculum for faculty in obstetrics and gynaecology to remedy gaps in the formal, informal and hidden curriculum in medical education.

Methods An ethics curriculum was developed for faculty within the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at a tertiary care, academic hospital. During the one-time, 4-hour, mandatory in-person session, the participants voluntarily completed the Oldenburg Burnout Inventory, Handoff Clinical Evaluation Exercise, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine and overall course evaluation. Patient satisfaction survey scores in both the hospital and ambulatory settings were compared before and after the curriculum.

Results Twenty-eight faculty members attended the curriculum. Overall, respondents reported less burnout and performed at the same level or better in terms of patient handoff than the original studies validating the instruments. Faculty rated the professionalism behaviours as well as teaching of professionalism much lower at our institution than the validation study. There was no change in patient satisfaction after the curriculum. However, overall, the course was well received as meeting its objectives, being beneficial and providing new tools to assess professionalism.

Conclusion This pilot study suggests that an ethics curriculum can be developed for practising physicians that is mindful of pragmatic concerns while still meeting its objectives. Further study is needed regarding long term and objective improvements in ethics knowledge, impact on the education of trainees and improvement in the care of patients as a result of a formal curriculum for faculty.

  • ethics
  • professionalism
  • obstetrics and gynecology
  • medical education
  • continuing medical education
  • hidden curriculum

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