Preferences of Alaska and New Mexico Psychiatrists Regarding Professionalism and Ethics Training

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Abstract

Objective

To identify the preferences of practicing licensed psychiatrists in two rural states regarding ethics training.

Method

All licensed psychiatrists in Alaska and New Mexico were mailed a survey exploring differences in ethical and practice issues between rural and urban health care providers. Data were collected from 97 psychiatrists.

Results

Findings indicated a moderate level of interest in training related to a diverse set of ethics topics. Although women expressed greater interest in most topics than did men, ranking of topics was similar across genders. Level of interest in training was inversely related to number of years in practice.

Conclusions

The psychiatrists in this study indicated some interest in professionalism and ethics training, but did not express the level of need or enthusiasm documented in many studies of physicians-in-training. Creating continuing medical education initiatives that are attuned to the distinct needs and preferences of psychiatrists in clinical practice thus poses many challenges. This may be particularly true for certain aspects of practice, such as ethics and professionalism, that have long been recognized as vital to clinical care, but now are viewed as core competency areas.

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