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Unit information: Teaching Ethics and Law in the Health Professions (Unit 213) in 2015/16

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Unit name Teaching Ethics and Law in the Health Professions (Unit 213)
Unit code MEEDM0011
Credit points 20
Level of study M/7
Teaching block(s) Academic Year (weeks 1 - 52)
Unit director Dr. Deans
Open unit status Not open

PG Certificate in Teaching and Learning for Health Professionals



School/department Centre for Medical Education
Faculty Faculty of Health Sciences

Description including Unit Aims

The Unit gives clinical teachers the chance to explore and critique their own views and those of colleagues and scholars in healthcare ethics and law. Students will be introduced to key theories, positions and topics in the field. Through this Unit, students will have the opportunity to develop rigorous methods for evaluating various ethical perspectives, and to become more familiar with nuanced legal positions.


  • To understand the basics of moral theories and legal principles;
  • To understand the fundamental principles of teaching medical ethics to a wide range of healthcare professions;
  • To be able to apply ethical and legal analysis to dilemmas within the practice environment.

Intended Learning Outcomes

In this unit students will develop their ability to:

  • demonstrate a basic knowledge of theory in health care ethics and moral philosophy;
  • begin to research, review and critically appraise bioethical arguments as they apply to areas of healthcare and science;
  • deliver elements of the core ethics curriculum.

Students will also develop their knowledge of:

  • analytical approaches to resolution of moral dilemmas;
  • teaching methods related to ethics instruction;
  • legal and ethical frameworks.

Teaching Information

Prior to workshops E-learning

  • Pre-course reading

Face to face

  • Didactic teaching
  • Discussion
  • Seminars
  • Small group activities

Assessment Information

The assessments will together comprise 4,000 words or equivalent in other media

  • A summative ethics essay assignment, and
  • A formative legal case presentation on Day 3

Provisional deadline for essay: within 3 months of the first study day for the Unit.

The assignment for this Unit will be an analysis of a particular topic in healthcare ethics. This will be combined with a critical appraisal of teaching practices within their own area of work as it would relate to the chosen topic. Students would be expected to draw on important issues from the education literature and showing evidence of their own reflection on these issues as they occur in professional life. Specifically, the student will need to show how well they can apply the theoretical and practical principles learned on the Unit in real-life teaching situation(s), and to discuss the importance and level of integration of the teaching of ethics in their own cognate discipline.

Reading and References

  • Beauchamp T. L., Childress, J. Principles of Biomedical Ethics Oxford University Press, 2001
  • Campbell, AV and Higgs, RH. (2011). In that Case: Medical Ethics in Practice, Darton, Longman and Todd. ISBN: 0232515573.
  • Campbell, AV et al. (1997). Medical Ethics, 3rd edn OUP. ISBN: 0195583507.
  • Jonsen, A. et al. (1992). Clinical Ethics, 3rd edn McGraw Hill. ISBN: 0071053921.
  • Rachels J & Rachels S.. (2009) The Elements of Moral Philosophy. 6th Edn. ISBN-13: 978-0073386713. McGraw-Hill Higher Education, New York.