Imagine yourself in the shoes of a physician who has to coax an unwilling patient into consenting for a blood transfusion. However, the patient is adamant on refusing the treatment on religious grounds. You are aware of the fact that if the patient is not administered the transfusion in time, they may fall prey to a life-threatening situation. What do you do in the face of such an overwhelming dilemma?
You will inevitably be thrown in the ring with such mind-boggling challenges and ethical dilemmas during your years in clinical practice. They pose rather hard to navigate since there is hardly one right answer. How can you ensure that you are well-equipped to deal head-on with such scenarios, both in your affordable Caribbean medical school and as a future physician?
Before you embark on your career as a physician, it is prudent to glean a basic understanding of these situations, so you know what to expect and how to cope when such a predicament rears its obnoxious head. Here are a few ways that a course in ethics can come in handy for premed students when they venture a foot forward in a medical school:
Establish A Framework for Moral Encounters
While a course in ethics alone cannot give you answers to every impasse you will face in life, it can provide a framework so that you are better able to break down the situation into a series of tangible components, comprehend each from different perspectives, and root out conflicting issues that need to be weighed against each other before a final decision can be reached.
If the circumstance cited above is viewed through a medical ethics lens, you may find yourself at the brink of a forked path. On one hand, it is your obligation as a physician to alleviate the chances of the patient coming to harm, which by most standards comes around to giving them a blood transfusion and successfully resuscitating them back to life. On the other, you feel a sense of responsibility to respect their inherent right to consent to a medical treatment before you start administering it. Identifying such conflicting interests better prepares you for weighing the pros and cons of each hand of the scale systematically before reaching an informed decision.
Build communication skills and Empathy
Medical ethics helps you hone in on your communication skills with peers and patients alike and makes you a more empathetic person. If you apply this to the dilemma above, medical ethics can provide you with a framework to help you make the patient come to grips with the fact that while you wish to respect their right to make decisions about their body, you are also looking for ways to restore their health. Doing so enables you to relate to the patient and foster a stronger connection. Once they see that you are an empathetic physician, they will be more likely to trust you and work with you to arrive at a viable solution.
A Course in medical ethics also enables you to learn the two sides of contested coins, such as issues dealing with euthanasia and abortion. If you are against euthanasia or abortion, such a course may help you see the subjects from diverse perspectives and better appreciate why other people may think differently than you. Its indispensable for premed students to be able to think critically from all angles and respect different views. Especially when you are enrolling in an affordable Caribbean medical school that boasts of diversity, you need to be able to swing along with peers who may have completely opposing views from yours.
Instill social responsibility in Students
Justice is often a key issue which is often the brunt of debates in medical ethics. While we are all familiar with the fact that medical care is a limited and valuable resource, how does a physician ensure that all their patients are being cared for in an equitable and fair way? This is where medical ethics comes into play, since it helps you comprehend how justice enables an equitable distribution of medical care and health care delivery.
Almost every physician must deal with ethical dilemmas pertaining to justice in their day-to-day jobs. For instant, is it better to spend more time with each patient and see to them attentively, but at the expense of being able to see lesser patients who may need more urgent care? Is it prudent to introduce most state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge, despite costlier, equipment in your practice to be able to treat patients better, knowing that a lot of your patients may not be able to afford those treatments? How do you weigh your obligation to treat your less privileged patients against the consideration of sustaining your medical practice financially?
A course in medical ethics enables you to tackle and deal with such issues effectively, so that when you venture a foot forward in an affordable Caribbean medical school, and later in practice, you will do so with a broader horizon.
Grow research skills
If you are looking to go into research in an affordable Caribbean medical school, a course in medical ethics would help you better comprehend the issues you will have to face in your career down the lane. For instance, if your research centers on investigating the benefits of an experimental procedure or drug on patients, you will need to take in to consideration a lot of ethical factors before you design such a study fairly. Such as if a harm can come to participants due to the intervention. What measures are being taken to mitigate the side effects? Are the participants in your study in the know about the potential health risks of the study? Are the patients being coaxed in some way into registering for the study? Have you done all that was needed to protect patient data? When you keep these issues at the forefront, you will become a more ethical researcher.