Maintenance of the highest ethical and professional standards in plastic surgery is in the best interests of our profession and the public whom we serve. Both the American Board of Medical Specialties and the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education mandate training in ethics and professionalism for all residents. Presently there is no gold standard in ethics and professionalism education.
A systematic review on teaching ethics and professionalism in plastic surgery was performed for all articles from inception to May 23, 2013 in MEDLINE, Scopus, EMBASE, CENTRAL, and ERIC. References of relevant publications were searched for additional papers. Key journals were hand searched and relevant conference proceedings were also reviewed. Duplicate and non-English articles were excluded. Inclusion and exclusion criteria were applied to find articles that described a curriculum in ethics and/or professionalism in plastic surgery.
Two hundred twenty-seven relevant articles were identified. One hundred seventy-four did not meet inclusion criteria based on screening of the title, and 39 of those did not meet inclusion criteria based on screening of the abstract or introductory paragraph. Of the 14 identified for full text review, only 2 articles described a set curriculum in ethics and/or professionalism in plastic surgery training and reported outcomes.
A paucity of data exists regarding the structure, content, or relevant measures that can be applied to assess outcomes of a curriculum to teach ethics and professionalism to plastic surgery trainees. Endeavors to teach ethics and professionalism to plastic surgery trainees must rigorously document the process and outcomes to facilitate the maintenance of our profession.