The ethics of caring and medical education

Acad Med. 2000 Feb;75(2):127-32. doi: 10.1097/00001888-200002000-00006.


The ethics of caring, though the subject of much recent discussion by philosophers, has hardly been applied to medical ethics and medical education. Based on receptivity (that is, empathy and compassion) toward and taking responsibility for other persons, the ethics of caring has particular relevance to medicine. Caring guides the physician always to remain the patient's advocate and to maintain the therapeutic relationship when dealing with and resolving ethical dilemmas. This article discusses the philosophy behind the ethics of caring and then explores three issues that arise within its context: receptivity, taking responsibility, and creating an educational environment that fosters caring.

MeSH terms

  • Communication
  • Education, Medical*
  • Empathy*
  • Ethics, Medical*
  • Humans
  • Physician-Patient Relations*
  • Students, Medical / psychology