Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics


Organizational Ethics in Residency Training: Moral Conflict with Supervising Physicians

a1 Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics and Health Policy and Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois

It is inevitable that physicians in training will be exposed to behavior by supervising physicians that the trainees find unethical. By nature these events are rare. It is imperative within any residency training program that resident physicians have immediate access to a meaningful review process in cases of moral conflict with supervising physicians. Here, I discuss the reasons why this issue must be recognized and what it entails. Most important, I discuss the procedural steps that are essential for the training program to make this a meaningful safety mechanism in residency training. This issue is central to promoting conscious development of professionalism in clinical training. Physicians in training, especially resident physicians, need to be taught to value and protect their own professional integrity. The responsibility for fulfilling this ethical duty falls on the individual residency programs as well as the administrative organizations that regulate residency training. Thus, ensuring this process of review is an organizational ethical imperative. Availability of this process is fundamental to promoting and ensuring ethical behavior by all participants in residency training.