Medical Schools Face Ethics Issues

Jun 17 2009 - 1:39pm
Medical Schools and Ethics
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Medical schools across the nation face tough questions after poor ethics grades. From Harvard, to University of Florida, to University of California San Diego medical schools are coming under fire for ties with drug and medical equipment companies. Reports nationwide have found questionable policies and practices with professors and their work with those companies.

A movement is underway at Harvard's medical school by some 200 students seeking to expose the university's ties with outside medical companies. The movement at Harvard began several years ago when students in a class became suspicious of a professor's resilience towards discussing a particular drug's side effects. With a bit of research it was discovered the professor was a paid consultant to several drug companies. Similar situations have played out at medical and nursing schools coast-to-coast.

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Nursing schools have come under fire for similar practices also. Accusations of companies funding nursing scholarships in return for favorable, and according to some, unethical, treatment have become a real issue for the medical training community. Some students are worried worried the information they are receiving in their training is no longer entirely unbiased.

The rise in online nursing degrees and other fields is compounding this problem. With less and less interaction between student and trainer the issue of biased information becomes ever more important. Transparency in medical schools of all types is needed in order to produce the best trained health care professionals the industry can offer.

Some medical schools are looking for ways to reform their practices and create more transparent operations. It is inevitable health care experts will cross over in their work between the teaching and work and industry fields. As in any industry, experts will be in demand to teach and direct both those learning the practice and those currently involved in the practice of that industry. Disclosing all ties professors and teachers have is important in maintaining trust between students and the institutions training them.

In an era where health care is an issue of utmost importance to the American public, medical schools must work to produce the best caregivers possible. The aging baby-boomers, meaning both a greater number of retiring doctors and increased consumption of medical services, will surely test America's health care system. Medical schools will play a major role in producing sufficiently trained and appropriately educated professionals to deal with those rising issues. Their commitment to transparency and building trust among their students is needed now more than ever.

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