Current Trends in Teaching Ethics of Healthcare Practices
Hattab, Abdulla Saeed
Developing World Bioethics 2004 December; 4(2): 160-172
The unprecedented progress in bio-medical sciences and technology during the last few decades has resulted in great transformations in the concepts of health and disease, health systems and healthcare organisation and practices. Those changes have been accompanied by the emergence of a broad range of ethical dilemmas that confront health professionals more frequently. The classical Hippocratic ethical principles, though still retaining their relevance and validity, have become insufficiently adequate in an increasing range of problems and situations. Healthcare that has been practised for centuries on the basis of a direct doctor- patient relationship has been increasingly transformed into a more complex process integrating the health-team, the patient (healthcare seeker) and the community. Systematic review of the specialised literatures revealed that Healthcare Ethics education has become a basic requirement for any training programme for health professionals, and should cover the different stages of undergraduate, postgraduate and continuing education. Both theoretical foundations and practical skills are required for the appropriate ethical reasoning, ethical attitude and decision-making abilities. There is growing evidence that physicians' professional and moral development is not only determined by the formal curriculum of ethics; rather more, it is determined by the moral environment of the professional practice, the 'hidden curriculum' which deserves serious consideration by medical education.
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