The Birmingham Conference was held at the School of Education, University of Birmingham on 22 May 2014. Organised jointly by the Centre for Research in Medical and Dental Education (CRMDE) and Health Education West Midlands, this annual event is one of the largest conferences on medical education hosted by a Deanery in the UK.
Professor Hywel Thomas,one of the leading academics researching virtues and values in the professions at the Jubilee Centre for Character and Virtues’, gave a keynote presentation reporting that character and virtue are matters of increasing concern in the medical profession - they shape how doctors behave as professionals and what is regarded as acceptable behaviour, also providing a framework for decision-making. In his keynote, Prof. Thomas (also Director of CRMDE) focused on early results from the medical strand of the Virtues in the Professions project where medical students and doctors in the sample have showed great consistency in the character strengths that they reported they (i) possess themselves and (ii) regard as important for the good doctor. Prof. Thomas also presented results from the moral dilemmas section of the survey, which was designed to understand the place that virtues, rules and consequences play in professional practice. Prof. Thomas closed by outlining the next steps for the project: investigating the link between personal and professional character strengths and responses to the dilemmas; investigating the role of demographic factors in explaining dilemma choices; investigating differences in results by career stage and, also, across the three professions of medicine, law and teaching.
You can find out more about the Virtues in the Professions project here.