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Nowak et al WITH CORRECTED FIGURES 10 March 2021.pdf (861.8 kB)

The Effect of Healthcare Education on Future Doctors’ Moral Competence in Poland. Joining to the Competitive League with a Beneficial Delay?

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posted on 2021-03-24, 23:53 authored by Ewa NowakEwa Nowak, Anna-Maria Barciszewska, Georg Lind, Kay Hemmerling, Suncana Kukolja Taradi

In competitive education test scores and scientometric indicators are 'the alpha and omega'. This can be mis-educative for healthcare students’ moral competence. Method. A pilot research study with n=114 Polish healthcare students was conducted to examine how their moral competence development was affected by learning environment with the focus on competition. Data were obtained with the standard Moral Competence Test. Results. The sample allowed the identification of a regress in moral competence during students’ pre-clinical curriculum, and then progress during their clinical curriculum. Also, a reverse gender gap effect concerning participants’ C-scores (C for moral competence) was observed, but no significant segmentation effect was noticed. Explanations. Scholarly literature usually suggests a decrease or stagnation of medical and healthcare students’ C-scores (particularly during their clinical curriculum) resulting from, e.g., competitive trends in higher education. Polish tertiary education only tries hard to increase its competitiveness and position in national and international rankings. This delay effect seems beneficial for the development of students’ moral competence against trends in moral competence education during medical education documented between 1983 and 2021, and additionally discussed in the following article.


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Declaration of conflicts of interest

No potential conflicts of interest

Corresponding author email

Lead author country

  • Poland

Lead author job role

  • Higher Education Faculty 4-yr College

Lead author institution

Adam Mickiewicz University

Human Participants

  • Yes

Ethics statement

The standard MCT (Moral Competence Test) validated and certified for the Polish language by Prof. G. Lind (2008) on the basis of validation study was used. According to the legal regulations, standard and renowned international surveys do not need an approval of Ethics Committee. Only the involved institution's approval was applied: the approval of the Dean's Office, Healthcare Faculty 1, Poznan Medical University, was obtained to conduct an online survey (available at with healthcare students in 2020. Participants remained anonymized and were recruited randomly with the Healthcare Faculty's internal mailing system. Participation was voluntary, only adult subjects participated. The informed consent was provided together with the mailing. N=114 finally participated.


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