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Ethics for the Boards
(Study Smarter Series)

The ITB USMLE, COMLEX, & Medical School Podcast

Teaching You to Think like a Question Writer

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Bioethics is one of those topics covered on all parts of the USMLE and COMLEX as well as each of the shelf exams. In part one, Patrick covers the four essential categories of boards-style medical ethics questions and discusses example material brought to you by Conrad Fischer and the team at medQuest ( Part 2 will cover additional multiple choice questions. Music “Burn a Miracle” by Say Anything (Courtesy of Equal Vision Records).

“Study Smarter” Episodes

This is our first of the “Study Smarter Series” of podcast episodes. We’ve interviewed some great people thus far (and many more to come) but we also want to provide episodes dedicated entirely to didactic content.  So when you scroll through the list of episodes, look for the “Study Smarter Series” designation. These episodes will be entirely dedicated to teaching high yield topics in a more systematic manner.

Ethics for the Boards

Ethics is one of those topics sprinkled throughout all levels of the USMLE and COMLEX as well as shelf exams. Plus, its complexity and scope don’t really change that much regardless of your level of training. So if you learn some basic, high yield topics, you can score well when faced with said topics on an exam.

 Four-ish Essential Categories of Board Exam Ethics Questions

Part one covers the four classic principles of bioethics taught to medical students and doctors: autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. Next, we delve into issues of informed consent (with a brief look at the concept of “capacity”). Finally, it’s on to advance directives and confidentiality.

Question(s) of the day

Everyone’s favorite lecturer and author of Master The Boards, Dr. Conrad Fischer generously offered ITB the use of medQuest practice questions for your podcast-related learning pleasure. In Part 1 we’ve got a handful of high yield questions that illustrate the topics discussed. In Part 2, we focus almost-exclusively on high yield questions to help the most essential ethics topics for the boards find a home deep inside your memory.

Study Advice from Dr. Conrad Fischer

Dr. Conrad Fischer is an award-winning medical educator, Associate Professor of Medicine at Touro College of Medicine in New York City and a public health advocate. He is the author of numerous USMLE test preparation guides and taught USMLE test preparation for Kaplan Medical. Click the link for his Amazon author page. And stay tuned for an upcoming interview with Dr. Fischer on the ITB podcast.


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Part 1: Overview of Essential Bioethics Concepts for the Boards

Part 2: Dissecting Board Exam Questions on Medical ethics

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Additional Recommended Resources (Click Titles)

  • Ethics for The Boards by Conrad Fischer

    A list of best resources for your boards ethics prep wouldn’t be complete without Dr. Fischer’s review book on the subject.

  • Ethics and Legal for USMLE Step 1

    This is a free Youtube review of ethics and legal topics for the boards. Check out the Stomp On Step 1 site for a good text-summary of boards-style ethics info here .

  • The Philosophy of Medicine Reborn: A Pellegrino Reader

    The late Edmund Pellegrino has most appropriately been called the “Father of Bioethics.” Dr. Pellegrino was one of the main reasons I moved from philosophy to a career in medicine. I was his fellow at Georgetown from 2007-2008. This isn’t really for the boards per se, but it is a collection of some of the best essays ever written on medical ethics. Read an (older) review of mine on this book over at the First Things website (written almost entirely during second year of medical school during class lectures) 😉 Who was Edmond Pellegrino? Watch the clip from the Da Ali G show to get a (very entertaining but admittedly “MATURE”) idea.

About the Host

Patrick C. Beeman, MD

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