Changing students’ moral reasoning ability – is it at all possible?

N Nortjé, K G F Esterhuyse


Background. Ethics training at tertiary level is important to facilitate an understanding of patient dignity and respect. Traditionally, ethics has been
taught in the form of didactic lectures; however, the authors are of the opinion that practical applications are more useful.
Objective. To measure students’ moral reasoning frameworks before and after an intensive course in medical ethics.
Methods. The study cohort was given a pre- and post-test of the moral behaviour scale (MBS). The t-test for matched scores was performed to
determine the presence of significant differences between the mean pre- and post-test scores for the 5 scales of the MBS.
Results. The study showed that there was a change in the students’ moral behaviour when a specific course structure was evaluated.
Conclusion. A combination of didactic and Socratic methodology of training had some effect on the moral reasoning ability of healthcare students.

Authors' affiliations

N Nortjé, Department of Dietetics, Faculty of Community and Health Sciences, University of the Western Cape, Bellville, South Africa

K G F Esterhuyse, Department of Psychology, Faculty of the Humanities, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

Full Text

PDF (97KB)


Moral development; Ethical teaching; Tertiary healthcare education

Cite this article

African Journal of Health Professions Education 2015;7(2):180-182. DOI:10.7196/AJHPE.385

Article History

Date submitted: 2014-01-28
Date published: 2015-11-21

Article Views

Abstract views: 6342
Full text views: 109926

Comments on this article

*Read our policy for posting comments here