Ars Cooperativa Naturae. Ethical Contingencies Across Medicine and Education: A Case Study

By Helen Joanna Boon, Stephen Tobias, Bernhard T. Baune, Tarun Sen Gupta and Lee Kennedy.

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Since the 1970s the utility and efficacy of medical ethics curricula in undergraduate programs have received heightened world-wide attention. During this time, an “ethics boom” occurred designed to counter the disappearance of ethics education and the marginalization of moral education from higher education. This “boom”, witnessed in most professional programs, is also notable for its absence from teacher education programs in Australia and the US.
Whilst there is a clear gap in the ethics literature for teachers, the large number of investigations in medical ethics has still not resolved uncertainty in relation to ethics education outcomes, effectiveness of teaching methods, effects of background student characteristics upon professional decisions and the ever changing social mores shaping ethical behaviours.
Reported here are findings from a case study in a regional Australian university whose aims were to identify domains of mutual interest between the schools of medicine and education. The ultimate goal is to facilitate dialogue to prepare undergraduates to meet their professional obligations with a clearer understanding of the ethical contingencies of other professions.
Focus interviews with students and practitioners, a survey and an examination of the ethics curricula of the two schools suggests all students would develop a greater understanding of the complex issues facing both professions if they attended a generic ethics course in the early undergraduate years. The use of real life scenarios and case study methodology applied across fields to illuminate stake holder’s perspectives has been called for. Such an approach, highlighting effects of contemporary cultural norms upon ethical professional behaviours, is thought to promote reflection.

Keywords: Ethics, Education, Medicine, Undergraduate Training, Generic Ethics Course

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 4, Issue 6, pp.41-68. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.287MB).

Dr. Helen Joanna Boon

Lecturer, School of Education, James Cook University, Townsville, Queensland, Australia

After initial training in the UK, Dr Boon (PhD, BSc, PGCE) taught chemistry for a number of years. Dr. Boon then completed doctoral studies in educational psychology, with a particular focus upon resilient students, students at risk of academic failure, achievement goal motivation and parenting perceptions. Dr. Boon is also actively engaged in issues relevant to science education and teacher training. Dr. Boon teaches educational psychology and research methodology to undergrads and post grads. Preferred research methods are quantitative, in particular structural equation modeling (SEM).

Associate Professor Stephen Tobias

School of Education, University of New England, Armidale, NSW, Australia

Steve Tobias (PhD) is a teacher educator who specialises in mathematics education for preservice and inservice primary and secondary school teachers. His research interests have focused on pedagogical approaches for engaging students in learning mathematics. As many students are reluctant learners in mathematics his research has focused on the affective domain and cognitive methods of addressing self perceptions, attitudes and beliefs by building student’s self-esteem, resilience and confidence when studying mathematics. He is currently involved in a large ARC funded project with Indigenous communities in Nth Queensland that is focused on cultural fairness and mathematical assessment. He is the director mathematics education at the national research centre SiMERR (Science, ICT and Mathematics Education in Rural and Remote) Australia.

Prof. Bernhard T. Baune

Head of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Neuroscience at James Cook University, Prof. Bernhard Baune (PhD, MD, MPH) is Head of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Neuroscience at James Cook University. He works on the Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and the Epidemiology of Psychiatric Disorders with an emphasis on Major Depression and Cognitive Dysfunction., James Cook University, Townsville, Qld, Australia

Prof. Bernhard Baune (PhD, MD, MPH) is Head of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Neuroscience at James Cook University. He works on the Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and the Epidemiology of Psychiatric Disorders with an emphasis on Major Depression and Cognitive Dysfunction. Prof. Baune has headed the research group “Genetics and Epidemiology of Mood Disorders” at the Department of Psychiatry, University of Munster, Germany and carried out research at St. George’s Medical School, London. Prof. Baune is a frequently invited speaker to present his research at International and National scientific meetings. His research in basic, biological and clinical psychiatry is widely published in more than 100 peer-reviewed publications, including top ranking Psychiatric and Neuroscience Journals. Prof. Baune’s research is supported by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and by a number of other grants.

Prof. Tarun Sen Gupta

Associate Professor, James Cook University, School of Medicine and Dentistry, James Cook University, Townsville, Qld, Australia

Tarun Sen Gupta (MB,BS, FACRRM,FRACGP, PhD) is Director of Medical Education at the James Cook University School of Medicine. His interests are in rural medical education, small group teaching, assessment and distance education. He is involved in teaching communication skills, ethics and professionalism to medical students and GP Registrars.

Prof. Lee Kennedy

James Cook University, Townsville, Qld, Australia

Richard Lee Kennedy MD PhD FRACP. Professor of Medicine James Cook University and Senior Staff Specialist, Queensland Health. Trained in medicine in Edinburgh, 1st Class Honours degree in Biochemistry. Research Doctorates on thyroid immunology and biochemistry. Research interests in obesity and use of information technology in medicine. Clinical interests include thyroid and pituitary-adrenal disease and diabetes.


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