Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
FORTES, Paulo Antonio de Carvalho and KURITA, Geana de Paula. Opinión de los estudiantes de medicina y enfermería sobre la autonomía de los adolescentes en los servicios de salud. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 1998, vol.4, n.6 ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49891998001200004.
In an effort to better understand some of the ethical and legal dilemmas that health professionals face in their daily activities, this study identified and analyzed the opinions and expectations of medical and nursing students at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, regarding the autonomy of adolescents in receiving health care services. Over the 1995-1996 period, interviews were done with students in the first and last years of their programs in the School of Medicine and the School of Nursing of the University of São Paulo. The results from the first-year students were compared with those of the final-year students. The interview questions dealt with such issues as providing medical care to adolescents when a parent or guardian was not present, adolescents making their own decisions on health care services, the confidentiality of information that adolescents provide, the circumstances in which that information could be given to parents or guardians, and situations where there were conflicts between the decisions of parents and adolescents. Despite variations among the opinions and expectations of the students, the overall results suggest that most of the medical and nursing students do not accept the concept of "health adulthood" or autonomy for adolescents and that the students instead choose to rely on current legal definitions of adulthood.