A medical curriculum in transition: audit and student perspective of undergraduate teaching of ethics and professionalism

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The General Medical Council (GMC) stipulates that doctors must be competent professionals, not merely scholars and practitioners. Medical school curricula should enable students to develop professional values and competencies. Additionally, medical schools are moving towards integrated undergraduate curricula, Cardiff's C21 being one such example.


We carried out an audit to determine the extent to which C21 delivers GMC professionalism competencies, and a student questionnaire to explore student perspective on ethics and professionalism.

Results and discussion

C21 delivers explicit or implicit teaching for all major GMC competencies, though some missed opportunities remain. The questionnaire responses showed that most students value ethics and professionalism teaching, and that it is most well received when delivered in a variety of ways and contexts throughout the curriculum. We also note that some respondents confuse ethics and professionalism with the policing of student behaviour.


C21 and curricula like it offer many opportunities for nurturing ethically and professionally competent physicians. Students appear to value this, though there remains confusion between medical school discipline and ethics and professionalism which needs further explication.

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