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Meeting the challenge of teaching bioethics: a successful residency curricula utilizing Team-Based Learning.

PMID: 35114873 (view PubMed database entry)
DOI: 10.1080/07853890.2021.2013523 (read at publisher's website )
PMCID: PMC8820793 (free full text version available)

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Sandra P Spencer, Stephanie Lauden, Sheria Wilson, Andrew Philip, Rena Kasick, John D Mahan, Ashley K Fernandes,

<h4>Background</h4>Despite recognition by both the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Board of Paediatrics (ABP) of the importance of bioethics education, curricular crowding, lack of perceived significance, and insufficient administrative support remain significant barriers to trainees gaining competency in bioethics. Few bioethics curricula at the graduate medical education level are evidence-based or comprehensive. We sought to develop and assess the effectiveness of a Team Based Learning (TBL) curriculum in improving residents' bioethics knowledge and their ability to evaluate ethical dilemmas.<h4>Methods</h4>We integrated L. Dee Fink's curricular design principles of "Significant Learning," Jonsen <i>et. al</i>'s "Four-Box Method" of ethical analysis, and ABP bioethics content specifications to create 10 TBL bioethics sessions. Paediatric residents at a major academic centre then completed a 3-year longitudinal, integrated TBL-based bioethics curriculum. Primary outcomes included individual and group readiness assessment tests (iRAT/gRAT), pre-work completion, and satisfaction with sessions.<h4>Results</h4>The TBL-based bioethics curriculum contains 10 adaptable modules. Paediatric residents (<i>n</i> = 348 total resident encounters) were highly engaged and satisfied with the curriculum. gRAT scores (mean 89%) demonstrated significant improvement compared to iRAT scores (72%) across all TBLs and all post-graduate years (<i>p</i> < .001). Higher gRAT scores correlated with higher level of training. Although pre-work completion was low (28%), satisfaction was high (4.42/5 on Likert scale).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our TBL-based bioethics curriculum was effective in improving knowledge, practical and flexible in its implementation, and well-received. We attribute its success to its grounding in ethical theory, relevance to ABP specifications, and a multi-modal, engaging format. This curriculum is easily modified to different specialties, virtual formats, or other specific institutional needs.Key messagesDespite formidable challenges to teaching bioethics in residency education, evidence-based methods such as Team-Based Learning (TBL) can be employed to increase knowledge and satisfaction.This study reports the first successful TBL bioethics curriculum, planned and executed longitudinally over 3 years, with paediatric residents at a large academic children's hospital in the US.TBL can be utilised to teach bioethics at the graduate medical education level and is adaptable to different situational factors, disciplines, and levels of clinical experience.

Ann Med (Annals of medicine)
[2022, 54(1):359-368]

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