Penn State University | College of Medicine | Research Departments | George T. Harrell Library | Medical Center |  Clinical & Translational Science Institute

Second year course: Ethics & Professionalism

The Ethics and Professionalism course is a required course for all second-year medical students and is administered and taught by faculty from the Department of Humanities, with assistance from faculty in several clinical departments.  The course meets for 12 sessions, and has the goal of introducing students to a variety of ethical problems that arise in the practice of medicine, as well as preparing them to deal effectively with such issues in a professional manner. At the conclusion of the course, students are expected to be able to:

  • Identify common ethical issues they are likely to face in medicine
  • Recognize ethical norms (and their parameters) within medicine
  • Use their knowledge and skills to anticipate and avoid ethical problems
  • Deal effectively with ethical problems, including identifying relevant available resources
  • Articulate the complexity of end-of-life issues
  • Explain the scope of medical students’ and physicians’ professional responsibilities

By the end of this course, students should be more proficient in three domains as they apply to ethical issues — KNOW, CAN, and DO.

  1. Know – The factual basis for understanding your responsibilities — in particular, relevant ethical principles, laws, history etc. that will enable students to “do the right thing”
  2. Can – The skills (and attitudes) needed to be able to act ethically after having determined what one “ought” to do
  3. Do – The demonstration of one’s ability to apply knowledge and skills appropriately in a given situation

The course combines lectures with small group discussions, and receives outstanding student evaluations each year.

Click here to download a copy of the course syllabus

Permanent link to this article: http://www2.med.psu.edu/humanities/for-medical-students/second-year-course-ethics-professionalism/