The ethics of electives
Electives are a vital part of medical education. They are the chance to get out of your medical school’s catchment area to do something different, and hopefully fun, for a few months.
Many students choose to go to a resource poor country. They often get a lot out of it, but going to such places throws up a lot of ethical questions that students need to think about before they go.
When they are abroad, students often get more involved in diagnosis and management than they can at home. Some will even do procedures that they aren’t properly trained for. In a personal view, Neil Graham looks at what students ought to think about before they go on an elective to a resource poor country. He argues that students have an ethical obligation to be upfront about their limitations, and make it clear that they aren’t yet qualified doctors (doi: