Teaching medical ethics and technology: Are our future doctors prepared for this merger?

robots doctors

(Andy Kelly, Unsplash)

This article was exclusively written for The European Sting by Ms. Bruna C. Nichelatti, a 2nd year medical student at the University of Blumenau (FURB). She is affiliated to the International Federation of Medical Students Associations (IFMSA), cordial partner of The Sting. The opinions expressed in this piece belong strictly to the writer and do not necessarily reflect IFMSA’s view on the topic, nor The European Sting’s one.


The principles of medical ethycs emerged in the Classical Greece time, period that political and philosofical thoughts were born. These principles were designated to Hipocrates. The practical medical oath, the ancient oath we still use today, was atributted to him. Timeless medical precepts belong to this oath: philanthropy, non-maleficence, justice and confidentiality.

However, these concepts, for a medicine student or a young physician, are too abstract on their practical medical applications, having in mind the complexity of the medical-patient relationship in the tecnologic age we are living. So we ask: How to prepare our future doctors to the ethic practice in the midst of a technological medicine?

The classical teaching of medical ethics became insufficient to attend the indispensable humanist formation to future doctors, seeing that many unknown moral dilemmas emerged with the rise of technology in the medical area. For this reason, the student has to be subjected to ethical and bioethical precepts early in his graduation life. This way the student would be prepared since the beginning to face varied situations where he could put in practice the precepts of medical ethics.

However, it’s not enough to be aware of the standards and conducts and don’t expose the student to a immersion in the ethical dilemma not only in the professional view but also in the family and patient view. In doing so, the teacher has to transmit a previous orientation and has to work on discussions based on difficult situations that are faced everyday so that the student can realize and learn the best decisions to take in each of these situations.

Besides these classrooms discussions, one should instigate the interest of the student about ethical themes, this way stimulating them to seek more information in this area, likewise read articles, promote student events and meetings to discuss and to debate about it. Another way to experience these concepts and learn about them is going to medical conferences, where speeches and dynamic activities are present and the personal growth is going to improve the future doctor.

At last, the student’s experience of ethical dilemmas prepares them better to face the impasses that the medical career in the era of technology brings. Thus, understanding that technology and access to information rather than being enemies are, in fact, allied tools in the search for improvement in the exercise of the profession and in the formation of a better doctor.

About the author     

Bruna C. Nichelatti is a 2nd year medical student at the University of Blumenau (FURB). She is affiliated with the International Federation of Medical Student Associations. Her aim is to combine graduation with scientific development and philanthropy, forming a doctor who acts on science while not forgetting the love of neighbor.

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