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Medical Ethics Frameworks

A good knowledge of ethical frameworks is essential for success in not only your medical school interviews but for your career as a healthcare professional. They will form the basis of many of your patient interactions and clinical decisions.



  • An action's morality is dependent purely on the consequence

  • As long as the action has an overall benefit, the morality of any other aspect of the action does not matter

  • Example - limited drug supply with one severely sick patient or five less sick patients

  • Best action is the one that provides the most good

  • The best decision is the one that benefits the most people

  • Example - see the previous consequentialism example

  • 'Duty-based'

  • Follow rules

  • Contrast

  • Example

Virtue ethics
  • An action's morality is dependent on the motivations behind their actions

  • Aim to be good and actions will automatically be moral

  • Compassion, discernment, trustworthiness, integrity, conscientiousness

  • Four pillars

  • Universal

  • Most moral

  • Importance?


Features of a strong argument
  • Concise

  • Balanced

  • Factual

  • Structure


TAM's Top Tips

  1. Spend time looking over these - complex but will score highly in interview

  2. Read around the 'hot' ethical topics - you can use our website Try and apply the frameworks to these

  3. Stay calm and concise - ethical questions are difficult but you will be well-equipped to answer them with these frameworks. Stay calm, follow these frameworks and you will score highly


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