Analyzing reflective narratives to assess the ethical reasoning of pediatric residents

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4 Scopus citations


A limiting factor in ethics education in medical training has been difficulty in assessing competence in ethics. This study was conducted to test the concept that content analysis of pediatric residents' personal reflections about ethics experiences can identify changes in ethical sensitivity and reasoning over time. Analysis of written narratives focused on two of our ethics curriculum's goals: 1) To raise sensitivity to ethical issues in everyday clinical practice and 2) to enhance critical reflection on personal and professional values as they affect patient care. Content analysis of written reflections was guided by a tool developed to identify and assess the level of ethical reasoning in eight domains determined to be important aspects of ethical competence. Based on the assessment of narratives written at two times (12 to 16 months/apart) during their training, residents showed significant progress in two specific domains: use of professional values, and use of personal values. Residents did not show decline in ethical reasoning in any domain. This study demonstrates that content analysis of personal narratives may provide a useful method for assessment of developing ethical sensitivity and reasoning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)165-174
Number of pages10
JournalNarrative inquiry in bioethics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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