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Revista Brasileira de Educação Médica

versão impressa ISSN 0100-5502versão On-line ISSN 1981-5271


MENDONCA, Ana Cristina; VILLAR, Heloísa Cerqueira C. E.  e  TSUJI, Selma Rumiko. Medical students' knowledge concerning physician responsibility and patient confidentiality at the Marília School of Medicine in São Paulo State, Brazil. Rev. bras. educ. med. [online]. 2009, vol.33, n.2, pp.221-229. ISSN 1981-5271.

INTRODUCTION: The Brazilian National Board of Medicine (CFM) established the Medical Code of Ethics, the infringement of which involves sanctions and requires that physicians be familiar with and comply with it, by means of conduct governed by prima facie duties. Familiarity with the code is essential for adhering to it. Hence the importance of teaching the subject in the early years of undergraduate medical training, furnishing students with the skills for ethical analysis in their future professional practice. OBJECTIVES: Evaluate the degree of knowledge on the provisions of the Medical Code of Ethics concerning "physician responsibility" and "patient confidentiality" among students at the Marília School of Medicine in São Paulo State, Brazil, and verify possible trends and changes in this knowledge during their undergraduate training. METHOD: The study covered a ten-month period, with an initial sample of 479 medical students (first to sixth years) that were presented with an anonymous questionnaire in two parts: one with socio-demographic data and the other with 11 clinical scenarios involving ethically conflictive issues. RESULTS: 395 students answered the questionnaire (82.46% of the initial sample). Comparison of the overall average number of correct answers among the various undergraduate years showed a p-value of 0.7148, without statistical significance. CONCLUSIONS: We found no statistically significant difference in the degree of knowledge on medical ethics, when comparing the various years over the course of undergraduate medical training. The results thus suggest the need to introduce the subject of medical ethics into undergraduate medical education, with an appropriate didactic methodology.

Palavras-chave : Ethics medical; Medical students; Medical education; Medical undergraduate; Bioethics.

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