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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 569-578

Implementation of a medical ethics course in undergraduate dental education and assessment of knowledge and attitudes

1 Department of Dental Public Health, Faculty of Dentistry, University Paris Diderot, Paris, France; Education and Health Practices Laboratory (LEPS) (EA 3412), UFR SMBH, Paris 13 University, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Bobigny, France
2 Department of Forensic Medicine, Health Law and Medical Ethics CHU Caen; Anticipe (Inserm 1086), University Caen Normandie, Paris, France
3 Faculty of Dentistry, Montrouge, University Paris Descartes, Paris, France
4 Clinical Research Unit, Bichat Hospital, Paris, France

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Annabelle Tenenbaum
5 rue Garancière, 75006 Paris
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jispcd.JISPCD_364_19

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Objectives: A medical ethics course was launched in 2012 in a French University Dental School. We compared knowledge and attitudes, before and after implementation of that course. The aim of this study was to compare students who received an ethics course (third year) to those who did not have such training, however, most of them did have some clinical traineeship. Materials and Methods: An anonymous questionnaire was sent to the second-, third-, and sixth-year students. It comprised questions with Likert item format answers and clinical vignettes with open responses. The results were analyzed by two approaches: a statistical analysis (chi-square or Fischer exact tests) and a content analysis using a predefined grid. Results: A total of 299 respondents replied (75% students) the questionnaire. The analysis showed a statistically significant association between knowledge of the law and information procedures (P < 0.0001), access to medical files (P = 0.004), and recording consent (P = 0.049). It was also significant between knowledge of the law and the principles of biomedical ethics (P < 0.0001 for autonomy and beneficence). The third-year students could state the principles of medical ethics with their percentage always greater than the sixth-year students. After the third year, the students’ attitudes switched from a social to a medical emphasis, and their point of view regarding patient’s autonomy evolved. Patient’s refusal of care raised potential conflicts between autonomy, professional judgment, information, and consent. Conclusion: Ethics teaching could offer a way to turn positive attitudes into real competencies and should be considered at an early stage.

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