Sponsored by the
UMDNJ-Center for Continuing and Outreach Education
A Professional Ethics and Boundaries Course for Physicians
Comments from Participants
"I want to thank you for the time and effort you put into this course. It has been truly of great value and I think probably will save my future medical career. I feel I was on a path to do some irreversible damage and this has caused me to sit back and reflect about my future. I did a lot of soul searching and deep contemplation during the course and the subsequent days since. Your course is inspiring and it was a pleasure to meet you. Thank you sincerely (November, 2012).
"I was very apprehensive about attending this course but toward the end I was surprised by how much I was enjoying it" (Psychiatrist, November, 2012).
"Having to take this course was the last thing I ever thought I would have to do. Sitting at that table on Friday night before the first session began was one of the most uncomfortable moments of my life. I commend you for turning the experience completely around. I found it an excellent and worthwhile experience" (October, 2012).
"I came to this course kind of skeptical, and with reservations. When I saw Dr. McIntyre's degree, a Th.D., I thought I was getting into Scientology or religious instruction. Was I wrong! I asked myself what does a Th.D. know about surgery? Let me tell you, he knows a lot, about surgery and medicine, which I needed to learn about, and which I did not have a chance to learn about in my long career in Surgery. Despite that I was born in medicine--medicine goes to the 1800s in my family--and six years of medical school, the Royal College of Surgeons in England and the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh, I realize that I did not have one course in medical ethics. If I had it, I would not have been in front of the Board and I would have not had to attend this course and, I would have missed a lot."
"The truth was that I was not very excited to take this course, who would, considering the circumstances. However, at the end of it I was pleasantly surprised. The course was educational and I learned a lot about medical ethics, professionalism and the history of medicine. More importantly, it forced me to look within myself and reflect upon my actions. Everyone in the course had a different reason for taking it but wd all deserved to be there. Although I was a good surgeon that night, I was not a very good professional. I have come to the realization that being a true professional is a 24-7-365 job. There is no pause or time out, we are constantly being tested and scrutinized and therefore our integrity must be steadfast. I can not change the past but I can shape my future. Learning from mistakes and moving forward in a positive direction is the true definition of being a professional. I still love being a surgeon and feel very fortunate that I am able to make a difference in people's lives" (September, 2011).
"Upon registering for the PRIM~E course, I was skeptical about how much I would actually learn from this course, and whether this would be merely 'punching a ticket' or truly beneficial. I was uncertain if this course was right for me. Having completed the course, I realized that my reticence was unnecessary. The reading material, video presentations, class interaction and education provided by Dr. McIntyre opened a world of understanding that I had not anticipated" (September, 2011).
"I really loved this course. The discussions, readings and audiovisuals were extremely thought provoking and it really opened my eyes to what it means to be a professional. Dr. McIntyre is an amazingly knowledgeable teacher and was also very compassionate to our individual situations. I think this course should be required for all medical students and physicians" (November, 2010).
"I thought it was an extremely valuable refresher course for myself being in practice a long time. I look forward to utilizing its principles" (November, 2010).
"I recently completed the course 'Professional Renewal in Medicine through Ethics.' At the risk of the reviewer of this essay incorrectly perceiving the following comment to be sycophantic, I must nevertheless state unequivocally that the 20 or so hours of preparation and education associated with this course were amongst the most enlightening of my medical career. This was entirely unexpected as the course was mandated by a governing body. I believe a colleague physician in the room helped to crystallize this epiphany when he remarked to me and the class: the medical board 'did you a huge favor by asking you to take this course.'"
"I can honestly say that the course was both enjoyable and informative. In fact, it was to a much greater degree than I would have ever imagined. I think the most significant change for me personally was that for the first time in many months I stopped seeing myself as the victim of the whole process and came to see that in fact I was responsible for much of the problems that had fallen upon me."
"Driving down to the PRIM~E conference, I was fairly depressed about my current situation. After the conference on Sunday, I actually felt much better mentally and spiritually. My situation has not changed yet, but the conference gave me a sense of perspective that allowed me to understand why I am in the predicament I am in, and all the factors involved, historically and currently. I feel less resentment about my discipline, and I feel a renewed sense of privilege and responsibility to be a licensed Medical Doctor. I am still in 'deep water,' but I am now swimming stronger towards the shore."
"Excellent course! Extremely well organized and informative. Dr. McIntyre obviously has extensive experience in the subject and presents the information in a very insightful and didactic manner."
"While there were other places I would rather have been, I found the course to be extremely provocative and informative. Whereas I may have come into this course with some trepidation, I found the overall experience to accomplish its intended goal: this is a renewal in medicine. Although I came to this course through a mandate, I think this course would be invaluable to anyone involved in the delivery of medical care. Perhaps, just as a course has been required for ethnic diversity, there should be some form of ethics course requirement for continuing medical education or licensure."
"My life has forever changed following the conclusion of the PRIM~E course. I love to learn and have no problem with taking courses but this was one course that I did not want to take. I am being honest and I am sure that those sentiments were shared by other participants. There was not one person in the room who wanted to enroll in this course. Everyone looked sad. I was very, very sad to have placed myself in this perilous situation. However, I have to look forward and I know that the course has redirected my professional outlook forever. Each day that I am allowed to practice, I am appreciative. It has now been more than two weeks since I took the course and not a day has passed that I haven't thought about the contents of the course or the individual situations that were presented. I guess the course objective was achieved, at least from my point of view. There was a bonding of souls within that room. What occurred in that room will be forever ingrained in our consciousness and forever remain confidential. The course was mesmerizing and participants lingered at the end because the ending of the course was NOT eagerly anticipated. This view was a complete reversal from the projections that were held at the onset. I am sure that I surprised Dr. McIntyre when I walked up to him at the end of the course and made such a statement....The lessons will never be forgotten."
"While I was initially embarrassed and ashamed by the findings of the state panel, and resistant to the whole idea of having to take a boundaries course in professional ethics, I found the exercise extremely focusing and refreshing from start to finish. I started my preparations for the course by reading, among other things, the New England Journal reprint of the centennial Shattuck Lecture of 1990 which commemorated the life of Sir William Osler. This was among a series of articles meant to frame a discussion pertaining to the ideals of medicine, and what constitutes 'The Good Doctor.' What became immediately apparent to me was how estranged I had become from the source of my own vocation, how distant (if not silent) that still, small voice that beckoned me in the most unlikely turn of events and the pursuit of a path that would lead me to become a child neurologist and medical geneticist....I personally feel renewed in my vocation to practice medicine, that to be true to that call, there is a difficult but hugely rewarding journey of discerning, with supportive colleagues, how to apply one's talents to today's landscape without resentment or resignation. To that end, completing this course is but the first of many ongoing steps to keep me fresh in the practice of medicine. I am in the process of realigning my practice to become more academic, so that my knowledge is always fresh, and I want to sit, as I used to, on the hospital bioethics committee. I found this hugely rewarding as a neurologist, both as a way of being of service and also keeping abreast of legal and ethical advances in my field."
"I must say that it was a memorable experience attending this course which can not often be said of courses that you are 'required' to take. The environment and setting of the course was pleasant. It was an intense but rewarding learning experience, not only from the reading materials but also from the other doctors attending the course. The atmosphere was non-judgmental and mutually respectful. I must say that Dr. Russell McIntyre has tremendous experience in health care laws and regulations and ethics and was a great moderator and facilitator throughout the course."
"I thought that this was going to be a lot of BS. It was anything but that!"
"Superbly organized and presented."
"I approached this course with some trepidation. I was afraid to admit my error in public. I was embarrassed and ashamed about admitting my weakness in front of strangers. I must say, the course was constructed in such an excellent manner that I did not feel as vulnerable as I thought that I would feel. However, that vulnerability and apprehension that I had prior to the course has also helped to make me feel more sensitive to the needs of patients who also feel vulnerable and apprehensive when they come to my office. The course itself was handled beautifully. The discussions were excellent. The other participants in the course were very giving of their own experiences. The educational materials that were given to us prior to the course had articles that were relevant to my situation and the situations of the other participants. The discussions were the best part of the course. The information that Dr. McIntyre gave us was relevant and stimulating. The videos demonstrating various transgressions of physicians certainly made the purpose of the course that much more valuable."
"It was more valuable than I ever imagined it would be."
"I was surprised at how much I didn't know or understand about the real issues of practicing 'ethical' medicine."
"This was a much more positive experience than I had anticipated. The learning environment was very non-judgmental and understanding. Dr. McIntyre is very well-read and offers interesting perspectives. I'm glad I had this opportunity to participate although I'm not proud of how I got here."
"I have to admit that the course exceeded my expectations and was overall a valuable learning experience. Dr. McIntyre was well organized and his presentations were outstanding."
"Well detailed; pleasantly presented with ample opportunity to interact and ask questions."
" I was very apprehensive before I arrived but, overall, I found it a very positive experience. I learned a lot and have a different perspective on what my issues were all about."
"I appreciated the non-judgmental yet informative way that the course was handled. It certainly made me aware of not only my own error but other pitfalls."
"Small workable group. Instructor made you feel comfortable and open to discussion."
"This is one of the best educational courses I have ever attended in my life. It touches every aspect and level of medical practice in the United States."
"The content and interest of the course exceeded my expectations. Although not a fully voluntary participant, I found the course to be valuable and really worthwhile."
"This course was comprehensive and professionally done. It blended the personal and professional issues as framed by ethical parameters. Thank you for a job well done."
"I was very apprehensive entering. Speaker put me at ease. Wonderful teaching; understanding style. I am impressed with this and would highly recommend this course."
"I really enjoyed this conference. I learned a lot and really feel more optimistic about returning to medical practice."
"I think this is an excellent renewal program to restore ethics and re-examine me."
"Excellent program; a good opportunity for reflection."
"I've done a 180-degree turn on my understanding of why I was required to take this course. I have a much different understanding of what I did and how I might have done things differently. Thank you."
"I came to this course involuntarily and left with a new sense of who I am as a physician. I wish I had taken this course years ago. It has enlightened me and got me back in touch with why I became a doctor in the first place."