Background: Residency programs are required to teach and evaluate trainees in the area of professionalism and medical ethics. Prior to developing a curriculum in this area, residents and fellows were surveyed to assess learning needs. Description: A case-based survey was developed based unpublished curricula. Residents and fellows were asked to describe their comfort level in 11 clinical scenarios on a Likert-type scale ranging from 1 (not at all comfortable) to 10 (extremely comfortable). Evaluation: 151 surveys were returned for an overall response rate of 73%. Comfort levels ranged from a low of 3.1 to a high of 8.5 on the 10-point scale. Despite additional years of clinical training, fellows only reported an increased comfort level in 1 case. Conclusion: Learning needs exist in residents and fellows in the area of medical ethics. Use of a needs assessment was instrumental in planning and designing an ethics curriculum.
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