What health science students learn from playing a standardized patient in an ethics course

Amy Haddad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Formal teaching of ethics in health science programs at the entry level and postprofessional level in the United States and Canada has been documented in the professional literature for more than 30 years, yet there are significant differences in the way it is taught and how much time is devoted to the subject. Numerous teaching and evaluation methods have been used in ethics education, such as lectures, written examinations, debates, role-playing, small group discussion, and case study analysis. Most instruction in ethics in the health sciences has been geared toward ethical analysis of case studies, that is, the student is asked to read a case or discuss a case with others, identify the ethical issues verbally or in writing, propose different resolutions supported by principles and theory, and select the best course of action. Yet, analysis of a case is an unlikely route to develop skills in coping with the uncertainty and emotional nature of ethical issues commonly encountered in clinical practice, nor does it give us an indication of what students would really do when they encounter an actual ethical problem. There is clearly a difference between reading a text or listening to a description of a particularly difficult case involving ethical issues and interacting with a real patient or another health professional.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)481-487
Number of pages7
JournalCambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy


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