Personal Views

Cheating in medical school

BMJ 1995; 310 doi: (Published 15 April 1995) Cite this as: BMJ 1995;310:1014
  1. Frank J Leavitt

    I caught a medical student cheating. It was in the easiest course in the medical school, an elective in philosophy for first year students. We discuss proofs of God's existence, whether or not we have souls, the meaning of life, and metaphysical foundations of mathematics. We do this to stretch the students' minds, help them relax and have some intellectual fun in the midst of a gruelling curriculum, and help them become deep thinking doctors, perhaps a little better equipped to face the ethical dilemmas that they will have to confront in the strange new world which biomedical engineering and molecular biology are creating for us.

    In this of all courses the student chose to cheat.

    “Jack,” as I'll call him here, was one of the sharpest and most enthusiastic participants in class discussion. The term paper, which I gave them the whole summer to write, was an easy and fun assignment. Just …

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