Assessment of ethics and values during an interprofessional, international service learning experience Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2015 Elsevier Inc. Introduction: There has been a surge of health care profession students participating in international service learning experiences due to an increased awareness of global health concerns; however, few have been reviewed for ethical concerns. An interprofessional team from a Health Science Center in Texas collaborated on multi-year short-term medical service learning trips to Bolivia. A structured evaluation was planned. The purpose of the evaluation was to distill the ethical issues that arose on the most recent trip and how these were resolved and in post-trip deliberations to review ethical concerns from the current or past trips to synthesize appropriately tailored training preparations for future students. Methods: A survey and journal prompts were examined to determine students' reactions to their team members' performance related to ethical behaviors as defined by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative Core competencies as well as the four basic principles of Western Bioethics. Results: The study found that team members thought they acted ethically. It was noted that a deeper examination of pre-trip planning preparations regarding ethics in the student-host community interaction is needed for future trips. Student's discomfort with not knowing what to do in unusual situations seemed to cause the most ethical distress during the trip. Conclusion: This baseline study did find that students value the ability to act with other health professionals as an interprofessional team. However, future evaluations need to focus on real-time capture of data and debriefing sessions while on site. Team members must be committed to ongoing iterative critical reflections to achieve continuous improvement.

altmetric score

  • 0.25

author list (cited authors)

  • Watzak, B., Engelhardt, J. A., Bentley, R., & Self, D. J.

citation count

  • 3

publication date

  • July 2015