Young Physicians' Recall about Pediatric Training in Ethics and Professionalism and Its Practical Utility

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To assess the adequacy of ethics and professionalism education in residency by examining the recollections of young pediatricians in practice.

Study design

We surveyed a random sample of members of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Young Physicians between February and June 2012.


The majority of young pediatricians reported that ethics and professionalism were taught ad hoc in their training programs. Compared with physicians in practice for >5 years, those in practice for ≤5 years were significantly more likely to report having had an organized curriculum (72 of 181 [40%] vs 27 of 113 [24%]; P < .01) and that the ethics and professionalism training in their program was adequate (124 of 180 [69%] vs 62 of 113 [55%]). Of the topics encountered in practice by at least two-thirds of pediatricians, more than two-thirds of the respondents stated that residency training adequately prepared them to address issues of consent, privacy, truth-telling, and child abuse/neglect, but less than one-third felt adequately prepared to address conduct on social media and requests for prescriptions by family, friends, and colleagues outside of clinical encounters.


The majority of recent graduates from pediatric training programs described themselves as competent to address the ethical and professionalism issues faced in practice, but nonetheless reported gaps in their education. As pediatric residency programs adopt more structured curricula for ethics and professionalism education, issues commonly faced by practitioners should be incorporated.

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