Teaching Ethics to Pediatric Residents: A Literature Analysis and Synthesis

K. Martakis*, K. Czabanowska, Peter Schröder

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Ethics education rarely exists in pediatric resident curricula, although ethical conflicts are common in the clinical practice. Ethics education can prepare residents to successfully handle these conflicts. Aim: We searched for methods in teaching ethics to clinical and especially pediatric residents, and identified recurring barriers to ethics teaching and solutions to overcome them. Design: Literature from 4 electronic databases with peer-reviewed articles was screened in 3 phases and analyzed. The literature included papers referring to applied methods or recommendations to teaching ethics to clinical residents, and on a second level focusing especially on pediatrics. An analysis and critical appraisal was conducted. Results:3231 articles were identified. 96 papers were included. The applied learning theory, the reported teaching approaches, the barriers to teaching ethics and the provided solutions were studied and analyzed. Conclusions: We recommend case-based ethics education, including lectures, discussion, individual study; regular teaching sessions in groups, under supervision; affiliation to an ethics department, institutional and departmental support; ethics rounds and consultations not as core teaching activity; recurring problems to teaching ethics, primarily deriving from the complexity of residential duties to be addressed in advance; teaching ethics preferably in the first years of residency. We may be cautious generalizing the implementation of results on populations with different cultural backgrounds.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)263-269
JournalKlinische Padiatrie
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2016


  • curriculum
  • pediatrics
  • ethics
  • postgraduate education

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