Physicians Patients and Society II (PPS-II) course: 3rd year medicine students discuss contemporary issues and real case scenarios and relate them to legal, social, ethical and religious considerations (2012-2013):
The PPS-II course has been going on for a number of years at AUBFM. From a purely face to face course to a blended course, it has proven to give the students the chance to see that the patient is not only a disease, but an illness, not only a patient, but a human being in all his/her different dimensions. With the varied sessions and lectures, ranging from ethical issues in surgery, pediatrics, allocation of scarce resources, genetics, ethics and the pharmaceutical industry, research ethics and others, students learned to appreciate the complexities of moral decision making and what comes with it. The PPS-II course is a one year course coordinated by Dr. Thalia Arawi and is currently being given by a team of 13 faculty members.
What do physicians say?
“I benefited from the involvement in the course in several aspects. The course forced me to update my knowledge in the field and to reflect more on how to better serve and act as a role model in ethical behavior for the students. My interaction with the students has been extremely positive and I was challenged and stimulated by their thoughts, questions and enthusiasm for the subject. I feel this course has made a tremendous difference to the students and my hope is that their generation is now sensitized to the various ethical dilemmas that practicing physicians grapple with on a daily basis and will grow to become a better generation of physicians”. (Dr. Faek Jamali, Associate Professor of Surgery & Vice Chair for Clinical Affairs; Program Director, General Surgery Residency)
"An integral and essential role in our residents’ education is clinical medical ethics. This cannot be done solely in a classroom but has to be incorporated in our daily teaching rounds. Not only will it make of us better physicians but it will also improve the process and the outcomes in patient care". (Dr. Marianne Majdalani, Director of Pediatric Critical Care)
"It was a teaching experience to me first. The more I was exposed to different groups of students, leading the discussion among them and debating as if in a political talk-show setup, the more I knew how much the sky of ethics doesn't seem to have any end and the more I discovered how ignorant I am in this subject. Thus, I started digging more into the concepts of ethics, built more restrictions on my research team, engaged myself and my research into more communication with the IRB people in our institution, and I found myself assuming responsibilities in related committees like DNA and stem cell research where ethics is there sitting behind the curtains and hiding between the lines but surely guiding the whole process and directing the bigger scene and ultimate goal: Human dignity and confidentiality rights". (Dr. Rami Mahfouz; Associate Professor, Director, Histocompatibility and Molecular Diagnostics)
“The course was an excellent example for process improvement. The presentations and discussions made the students and others to become aware of ethical issues. The increased awareness resulted in the students’ ability to quickly notice any unethical unacceptable behavior of few individuals. When this unethical behavior was reported or demonstrated in a role play activity, it was then used for feedback which is known to result in improvement. (MD., name withheld upon request)
What do students say?
“I believe that course is a fundamental part of our medical education, because as we get more experience in medicine we realize that it is a multidisciplinary field. Although many of us might have complained that the bioethics course took away from "valuable time for studying", but it is an indispensable part of our training. It provided me with the tools and means to communicate with patients, to approach them and to deal with their concerns in an "ethical" and compassionate way. Several instances I find myself unconsciously using the principles we learned in the course to deal with a patient who is financially unable to cover AUB expenses, or diagnosed with cancer and thinks he is receiving antibiotics, etc...” (Victor Chedid, Med IV)
“This course allowed me to get exposed to variety of thoughts that people may hold concerning ethical issues. It also allowed me to express my ethical concerns about several dilemmas I face in my daily practice and to discuss them with my colleagues. Finally this course gave us the eyes that will recognize ethical issues that may arise and that can be missed!” (Name withheld upon request)
“PPS-II is one of the best experiences of med school. The course is like a soul mate that accompanies you in your first year in clinical medicine, a time when you are still very fragile, challenged by the many ethical dilemmas. It carves you into a great physician who holds professional and ethical values that you would never compromise.” “It should seriously be considered over Med-IV.”(Akedl Fahed, Med IV)
“It was really interesting to get introduced to the different types of ethical issues that we could face in the different specialties, and to have the opportunity to discuss what we face in the hospital.” (Name withheld upon request)
“Very good course because it opens our eyes to many ethical issues in medicine and also gives us the opportunity to share our ideas and opinions and to listen to those of others.” (Name withheld upon request)
“At the beginning of the course, I thought it's just a burden, an additional thing to worry about, an unnecessary load...but as the Med III year progressed, I found that it is intimately related to our daily lives in the hospital. We encountered so many cases that raised many of the ethical dilemmas we were discussing during the sessions. The forum was a space for my personal catharsis; it also helped me see things from other people's perspective. In the vertiginous life inside the hospital, the conscious ethical thinking may be numbed, so you need to train your unconscious mind to always see beyond the raw medical cases. This is what I learned to do...” (May Daher, Med IV)
"After this course you will no longer be worried about questioning another doctor's behavior, attitude, or judgment. You will have some pointers to lean on when taking your own decisions, and when adjusting your own attitude and judgment. You will be prepared and capable of defending your choices, as well as accepting peer criticism. " (Julien Sukkar, Med IV)