Moral Imperatives for Academic Medicine
Thompson, James N.
Academic Medicine. 1997 Dec; 72(12): 1037-1042.
As the health care system becomes dominated by managed care, academic medicine must do more than simply learn how to continue to offer the same level of care with ever-tightening resources and in new practice environments. Three moral imperatives must guide how medicine is practiced and taught: (1) patients' health and well-being must always be foremost, centered in quality of care and respect for life; (2) the emotional and spiritual needs of patients must be considered, not just the physical needs; (3) academic medicine must instill in its trainees discipline, passion, and skills to meet their obligation to be lifelong learners. These imperatives make it more important than ever for medical educators to tackle two crucial questions: What kind of person makes the best possible physician? And what constitutes the best possible training for that person? Taking these questions seriously in the new era of health care may mean that medical educators need to rethink the teaching of medicine. One example of how this might be done is the Curriculum for 2002 Committee recently formed at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine. It is becoming clear that medical educators can do a better and more comprehensive job of helping future physicians uncover and strengthen their own morality and, in the face of managed care's pressures, renew their loyalty to medicine as a service rather than a business. Morally sensitized physicians can better deal with the hard issues of medicine, such as euthanasia and abortion, and can help their students examine these issues. Most important, they can show their students that physicians are members of a moral community dedicated to something other than its own self-interest.
Abortion; Bioethical Issues; Biomedical Research; Curriculum; Economics; Education; Ethics; Euthanasia; Financial Support; Goals; Health; Health Care; Industry; Life; Managed Care Programs; Medical Education; Medical Ethics; Medical Schools; Medicine; Morality; Managed Care; Patient Advocacy; Patients; Physician's Role; Physicians; Quality of Health Care; Religion; Research; Schools; Students; Virtues;
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