Ethical dilemmas reported by fourth-year dental students.

Ethics education in dentistry is a requirement for accreditation. Despite universal adoption of ethics courses, there is ongoing discussion about the appropriate content of these courses and about methods to engage students. Faculty who teach ethics must select a limited set of topics from the broad fields of professional ethics, bioethics, and the humanities. The purpose of this article is to describe the ethical issues reported by fourth-year dental students during community-based extramural clinical experiences. Senior dental students (n=123) wrote essays describing an ethical issue they encountered during one of two extramural rotations. Ethical issues were categorized and coded by consensus between two faculty authors. Students most often reported perceived dilemmas related to patients' limited resources (25 percent), conflict between professionals (19 percent), clinic policy or procedures (15 percent), and decision making by patients' surrogates (13 percent). One student (<1 percent) reported encountering no ethical issues. Students' perceptions of ethical issues in clinical practice offer faculty a foundation for designing a dental ethics curriculum that is practical and immediately relevant to the experience of a dental student. Students' reports may also yield a method for systematic assessment of students' abilities to apply classroom ethics instruction to clinical practice.
Sharp, H., Kuthy, R., & Heller, K. Ethical dilemmas reported by fourth-year dental students.. 69 10 1116-22. 10.1002/bdra.20726.