Conscientious Refusal: A Workshop to Promote Reflective and Active Learning of Ethics, Communication Skills and Professionalism

This workshop consists of 3 modules which may be conducted independently or in combination with small or intermediate sized groups of medical students. All use challenging reproductive health scenarios as case material.

The first module begins with two short trigger videos followed by structured discussion to provide an introduction to the core ethical issue of conscientious refusal, the limits of conscientious refusal in providing quality health care and the connection between ethical breaches and errors in communication skills.

The second module consists of a private values clarification exercise which may be further augmented with discussion.

The third module uses the helping trios role play technique to allow learners to practice the handling of ethical conflict with patients seeking objectionable medical interventions.

The workshop was designed as an instructional tool to foster development of the competency of non-directive pregnancy options counseling, set as a "does" level for third year medical students by the Association of Professors of Gynecology and Obstetrics in its 9th edition curricular objectives.

The workshop was used in the obstetrics and gynecology clerkship over three academic years with more than 300 students. Positive student assessment of the workshop has been separately published.

Type Course
CME Available No
Cost Free


Must register with MedEd Portal (Special Clearance Required)

Date of Resource 2012

Genomic Competencies

Experts from the disciplines listed below have tagged this resource as fulfulling genomic competencies.

Genetic Counselor

  • Professional Development & Practice
    • 17:   Act in accordance with the ethical, legal and philosophical principles and values of the genetic counseling profession and the policies of one's institution or organization.
      • 17a:   Follow the guidance of the National Society of Genetic Counselors Code of Ethics.
      • 17b:   Recognize and respond to ethical and moral dilemmas arising in genetic counseling practice and seek outside consultation when needed.
      • 17c:   Identify and utilize factors that promote client autonomy
      • 17d:   Ascertain and comply with current professional credentialing requirements, at the institutional, state, regional and national level.
      • 17e:   Recognize and acknowledge situations that may result in a real or perceived conflict of interest.