Discussing Ethical Issues in Medicine

by Carol Hagan

It’s interviewing season for applicants to medical, dental, and veterinary school, and I’ve had several students report that they were asked to identify and discuss ethical issues in medicine.  Whether you’re interviewing with graduate schools or just beginning to consider a career in health care, learning more about ethical issues in the field broadens your understanding of medical practice and gives you the important opportunity to consider your own values and point of view.

A helpful and interesting resource for learning more about ethics and medicine is the American Medical Association’s Virtual Mentor.

VirtualMentor Edited by medical students and residents, this online journal addresses ethical issues that are likely to arise during one’s medical education and practice.  A brief glance at the searchable database of case studies reveals that ethical considerations in health care extend well beyond stem cell research and euthanasia.

The November 2009 issue is devoted to “Humanizing Physician Learning.”  Do you think your premedical education is the best preparation for a career in health care?  What effect might health care reform have on medical schools and professional training?  Is it useful for clinicians to have more than one graduate degree?  Take a look, see what some professionals have to say, and think about it.