Moral growth in medical students

Although students bring to medical school a fairly well established value system, the potential for moral growth through the medical school environment and experience is substantial. The educational environment poses a succession of developmental and adaptive tasks to be accomplished. Several of these tasks are discussed here, tasks that are value-laden and involve, directly or indirectly, the interplay of ethical theory and practice. During the past quarter century, the two influences that have had the greatest impact on the moral growth and moral reasoning capacity of medical students have been the incorporation into the medical school curriculum of courses in medical humanities and the admission to medical school of an increasing number of female students. The female students have brought to medical school a level or dimension of moral reasoning (morality as care or responsibility for others) to augment the male students' focus on rights and justice considerations.
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