Evaluation of Ethics Education in Ob-Gyn: A Survey of Resident Physicians

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Ob-Gyn residents face a myriad of ethically challenging situations, both specialty-specific and universal to all medical specialties. Ob-Gyn-specific Milestones require programs to assess residents' abilities to implement key ethical principles and behaviors. However, there is limited research evaluating resident preparedness in addressing ethically complex situations.


A cross-sectional, web-based survey was deployed to residents from 9 of 11 ACGME accredited Ob-Gyn residency programs in Chicago. The survey was modified from a prior survey of Ob-Gyn residency program directors and developed in collaboration with a professional survey lab at the University of Chicago. Descriptive statistics were used to analyze data.


Of 191 eligible ob-gyn residents, 111 (58%) responded to the survey. Most respondents were from university-based programs (n=90, 81%) without religious affiliation (n=81, 73%). Only 23% (n=26) of respondents indicated their program included ethics in its core educational curriculum. Eighty percent (n=89) of respondents stated their program dedicated 0–5 hours per year to ethics. The vast majority of residents (n=90, 81%) would like “more” to “a lot more” ethics education and believed it should be required (n=72, 65%) for residency completion. Forty-two percent (n=47) of respondents stated they felt “somewhat” or “very unprepared” to deal with ethically challenging situations. Residents identified curricular crowding (n=87, 78%) and limited faculty expertise (n=69, 62%) as barriers to receiving formal ethics education.


Although barriers such as time constraints and faculty inexperience exist, Ob-Gyn residents desire greater ethics education in residency training.

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