Ethics and Clinical Education

Patricia Ann De Witt


This paper explores the ethical concerns which were identified in a mixed methods study to determine the facilitators and barriers to
quality clinical education on the clinical training platform of the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits).
Ethical and professional behaviour concerns were extracted and analysed from focus groups and questionnaires that were used to collect
data for the study. The ethical and professional behaviour concerns and responsibilities are discussed in terms of the clinical educators
in their role as both clinicians and educators. Ethical and professional concerns and responsibilities are also highlighted in respect of
students in their role as developing learners and professionals. How students learn ethical and professional behaviour is discussed as
well as how a clinical educator should encourage these important clinical competencies which students tend to learn in an overt rather
than covert manner. The paper also considers how in a service delivery placement where the focus is on clients’ right to care, and
the students’ right to education may be overlooked and their professional learning compromised. The importance of a sound clinical
educator-student relationship is central to professional education and facilitation of reflective practice and clinical reasoning essential
for the learning of ethical and professional behaviour.

Key words

Clinical education, professional and ethical behaviour

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ISSN 0038-2337 (print), ISSN 2310-3833 (online)

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