Category Archives: Ethics/bioethics

Dec 5 2012

Enduring Trust: Nurses Again Top Gallup’s Poll on Honesty and Ethics

Americans gave nurses higher marks than any other profession in Gallup’s annual poll on honesty and ethical standards, released this week.  When asked to “please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields,” 85 percent of respondents gave very high or high marks to nurses.  Just three percent gave nurses low or very low marks. 

Rounding out the top five most trusted professions are pharmacists, doctors, engineers and dentists. 

Nurses have topped the list every year since they were included in the survey in 1999, except following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks when firefighters were included on a one-time basis.

At the bottom of the list: car salespeople and members of Congress.

Gallup conducted the telephone survey in late November.

See the Gallup poll results.

Jul 27 2012

Physicians and Social Media: First, Do No Harm.

By Ryan Greysen, MD, MHS, an alumnus of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars program and assistant clinical professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco


It seems commonplace today to hear of someone who’s done something online that they wish they hadn’t. Social media use has skyrocketed, and the Internet has pervaded our everyday lives, both personally and professionally. In 2009, my colleagues and I began thinking about this online content and how medical students might be using—or misusing—social media. We were among the first to look at this topic, and we focused on medical students because we assumed they were more frequent users of social media.

But while doing research for a perspective piece where we described “online professionalism” and the role of social media as a “mirror” of physician’s values to the public, we found a few reported incidents of licensed physicians getting into trouble with licensing boards. That begged the question: was this just an issue among medical trainees, or was this a trend among licensed physicians as well?

We approached the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) to see if they would partner with us in a study of all medical boards to see how this issue was playing out on a national scale. We surveyed the 68 medical boards across the U.S. to assess violations of online professionalism and actions taken by state medical boards and published our findings in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The majority of respondents at medical boards we surveyed (92 percent) said at least one online violation of professionalism had ever been reported. The most common problems were inappropriate patient communication online, such as sexual misconduct (69 percent); use of the Internet for inappropriate practice, including Internet prescribing without an established clinical relationship (63 percent); and doctors misrepresenting their credentials (60 percent).

Read more

Feb 22 2012

Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) to Include More Than Science

The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC) last week announced forthcoming changes to the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT). Mindful of the changing skillset that practitioners need to meet the demands of the job, the AAMC said that, beginning in 2015, the MCAT will test students’ reasoning and social science skills.

“Being a good doctor isn't just about understanding science: it's about understanding people,” Darrell G. Kirch, MD, president and chief executive officer of AAMC, said at a news conference announcing the changes.

Two new sections will be added to the test: Psychological, Sociological and Biological Foundations of Behavior; and Critical Analysis and Reasoning Skills. These sections will assess applicants’ perceptions and reactions to the world, understanding of population health and cross-cultural studies, and ethical and scientific reasoning skills.

Officials hope the expanded scope of the test will encourage students from a wide range of disciplines to consider medical school, the Los Angeles Times Booster Shots blog reports, and will lead to a more diverse medical workforce that is better prepared to deal with a changing patient population.

What do you think? Does the new MCAT test align with skills physicians will need in the future? Are there other subjects that also should be tested? Register below to leave a comment.