Confronting the Hidden Curriculum: A Four-Year Integrated Course in Ethics and Professionalism Grounded in Virtue Ethics

Journal of Medical Humanities 42 (4):689-703 (2021)
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We describe a virtue ethics approach and its application in a four-year, integrated, longitudinal, and required undergraduate medical education course that attempts to address some of the challenges of the hidden curriculum and minimize some of its adverse effects on learners. We discuss how a curriculum grounded in virtue ethics strives to have the practical effect of allowing students to focus on their professional identity as physicians in training rather than merely on knowledge and skills acquisition. This orientation, combined with a student-generated curriculum, is designed to prepare students to identify and face challenges during their clinical years, further nurturing their professional growth. In short, a four-year integrated ethics and professionalism curriculum intentionally centered on cultivating virtuous physicians may alleviate, and even counteract, the effects of the hidden curriculum in the clinical years of medical training.



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