Review of ethics teaching in undergraduate medical education

J Pak Med Assoc. 2020 Jun;70(6):1056-1062. doi: 10.5455/JPMA.21013.


Objective: To provide an overview of existing literature regarding ethics in undergraduate medical education around the world, and to identify gaps in literature for recommending areas for future research.

Methods: The scoping review was conducted in March 2016. PubMed and Web of Science search engines were used to identify English language literature on ethics in undergraduate medical education published over the preceding 20 years. Google search was used for grey literature. Two reviewers independently screened eligible studies for final study selection and review. Descriptive analysis of data was performed with mutual consensus.

Results: Of the 199 items located, 56(28%) were included; 37(33%) of 112 studies, and 19(22%) of 87 pieces of grey literature. Papers covered almost all regions of the world, including North and South America, Europe, Africa, and different Asian regions like Middle East, central, south-east and far east. The analysis identified several curriculum designs and teaching methods used for ethics education.

Conclusions: The review identified gaps in evidence that required further research. These areas include theoretical underpinning of ethics curriculum, role of educators, standardisation and validation of teaching and learning strategies, and relevance to cultural context in the development and delivery of ethics curriculum, especially in Asian regions.

Keywords: Ethics education, Undergraduate, Medical education, Review..