The new AMA Journal of Ethics, launched this month, offers valuable insights into ethical decision making and the challenges medical students and physicians confront in their training and daily practice. The February issue investigates professionalism, empathy and the role of the “hidden curriculum” in medical education.
For the past 15 years, the AMA’s online ethics journal, Virtual Mentor, has been committed to helping students, residents and physicians make better, more ethical decisions in response to the challenging circumstances of their everyday professional lives. Now, Virtual Mentor will be known as the AMA Journal of Ethics to better reflect the journal’s subject matter and publishing roots.
The name change comes with:
- A refreshed website featuring easily accessible expert commentaries and articles
- An easy-to-read monthly email summary of each issue
- Access to monthly ethics polls and podcasts on timely ethical issues
While the journal’s name is different, the editorial mission remains unchanged: Ethics case commentaries and other articles that offer practical guidance and foster professional reflection.
Medical student and resident physician issue editors suggest themes and solicit articles from ethics experts and experienced physicians. Themes that will be addressed in upcoming issues include the culture of medicine, treatment of autism, professional boundaries, health reform and patient care. Medical students, residents and physicians can engage with the Journal by submitting manuscripts for peer review.
February’s issue includes the following stories:
- “Professionalism and appropriate expression of empathy when breaking bad news.” In this commentary, the authors consider both the patient’s perception of a physician’s empathic expression and the physician’s level of comfort with expressing empathy and attending to patients’ emotions.
- “Professional socialization in medicine.” This article focuses on narrative scripts—ideas about the kind of self one ought to be come—that shape medical students’ ideas of what desires, attitudes, behaviors and dispositions are expected or unbecoming of professionals.
- “The role of the hidden curriculum in ‘On Doctoring’ courses.” In this article, the authors discuss how the hidden curriculum may undermine the messages, skills and values that “On Doctoring” courses intend to convey.
The MEDLINE-indexed Journal is advertisement-free and open-access, in line with the belief that ethics education for physicians and physicians-to-be is in the public's interest and should be made available without charge.
Watch for more on the new AMA Journal of Ethics at AMA Wire, or subscribe to receive email alerts about each issue.