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A day in the life of a junior doctor: everyday ethical encounters
  1. Catherine J Quarini
  1. Correspondence to Dr Catherine J Quarini; catherinequarini{at}


This paper presents a hypothetical ‘day in the life’ of junior doctors working on a busy hospital ward. It illustrates the fact that, although the everyday ethical encounters faced by doctors are generally not as dramatic as some of the ethical issues discussed at medical school, the underlying principles, such as consent, confidentiality and resource allocation, are highly relevant to daily practice. After presenting some of the ethical challenges faced by junior doctors, from patients confused by poor explanations to inadequate consent procedures, the paper ends with suggestions on how to improve the situation.

  • Medical ethics
  • medicine
  • clinical practice
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  • CQ is a CT1 doctor working in the Oxford Deanery. The situations described are not based on any specific individuals or hospital wards, but are instead a representation of the general experiences of many junior doctors at a variety of different hospitals around the country. Details relating to patients and doctors have been changed to ensure anonymity as per the BMJ guidelines.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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