Emerging Trends in Bioethics
1. Catalog Entry
Emerging Trends in Bioethics
Credit hours (3)
This course introduces students to ethical theory and methods of moral reasoning as tools for analyzing bioethical problems of the twenty first century that arise from emerging medical technology and changes to law and health policy. The bioethical issues will vary to reflect current events and debates. Examples include the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on rural health and human service delivery, the efficacy and safety of telemedicine and telecounseling, and the ethical implications of new advances in genetic medicine. Through these analyses Health and Social Services professionals and other students will develop their ability to both directly provide and allow effective health care ethics consultations in specific cases. This course is typically conducted in a hybrid format.
2. Detailed Description of Course
This course will begin with an overview of ethical theory used to examine bioethical issues as well as methods of moral reasoning used to resolve bioethical issues in professional health and human service settings. Models of moral reasoning may include Tom Beauchamp and James Childress’ principles of biomedical ethics, Frederick Reamer’s six steps for ethical problem-solving, and/or Michael Gillette’s casuistic model for hospital consults. These models will be applied to bioethical issues that emerge from the advance of medical technology, amendments to existing law, and change to health policy at the federal and state level.
Various bioethical issues will be discussed. These issues will vary to reflect current events and debates about emerging technology and changes to law and policy. Examples include the impact of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on rural health and human service delivery, the efficacy and safety of telemedicine and telecounseling, and the ethical implication of new advances in genetic medicine. By thinking about such issues raised by these different bioethical problems in a systematic way, students will gain not only a basic understanding of bioethical decision-making, but also specific techniques for properly providing or directing health care ethics consultations that move people past conflicts and onto successful treatment and care.
3. Detailed Description of Conduct of Course
This course will be taught in fall semester each academic year. Among the learning activities students can expect, but are not limited to, the following:
• Lecture and discussion led by the instructor
• Small group discussion
• In-class formal or informal debates
• Individual and group oral presentations
• Informal and formal in-class and out-of-class writing assignments
• Individual and collaborative research activities involving library and Internet searches
• Written and oral analysis of cases and/or texts
• Written summaries/evaluations of out-of-class events
• Guest lecturers/presenters
4. Goals and Objectives of the Course
General Learning Objectives: The curriculum is grounded in the educational core competencies of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities (ASBH). The Emerging Trends in Bioethics course is designed to instill primary skills associated with Health Care Ethics Consultations (HCEC), namely assessment skills, or the ability to identify and analyze the nature of the value of uncertainty or conflict, and the ability to access relevant ethics knowledge, i.e., literature, policy, guidelines, and standards. A subsidiary and contributory skill is also targeted by the course, namely interpersonal skill, the ability to listen well, educate the involved parties regarding the ethical dimensions of the consultation, and enable involved parties to communicate effectively.
Specific Learning Objectives: By taking this course, students will be able to:
• Demonstrate knowledge of moral reasoning and ethical theory as it relates to HCEC issues in emerging technology, law, and health policy.
• Demonstrate knowledge of emerging bioethical issues and concepts that impact HCEC.
• Demonstrate ability to document, communicate, and collaborate with other professionals concerning ethical issues in emerging technology, law, and health policy.
5. Assessment Measures
Student progress in achieving the objectives established for this course will be measured in a variety of ways. Because several instructors teach this course, the specific assessment instruments employed may vary, but in every case the instructor will typically employ a number of the following methods to evaluate aspects of student learning. However, they are not limited to these assessments.
• Graded and ungraded written assignments may be used to measure the student’s ability to read texts carefully, to identify underlying values and assumptions, to articulate central concepts, to analyze and construct reasonable, practical treatment plans, and to access relevant ethics knowledge, i.e., literature, policy, guidelines, and standards.
• Journals may be used to measure the development of self-reflection and progress in critical and creative thinking about the ideas, issues, population groups, mindsets and texts of the course.
• Class discussions, debates, and small group discussion may be used to measure the student’s logical and practical reasoning and oral communication skills as well as the student’s ability to work with others in a collaborative process.
• Individual and group oral presentations may be used to measure the student’s understanding of particular cultural positions, mindsets or issues as well as the student’s ability to present reasonable and persuasive arguments.
• Quizzes and objective tests may be used to measure the student’s basic knowledge of the course material and the student’s ability to read carefully and think with clarity.
• Essay exams may be used to measure the student’s understanding of the nature and methods of ethical inquiry, knowledge of the course material, ability to analyze and construct practical suggestions, and ability to communicate with clarity.
• Formal papers may be used to measure the student’s understanding of the nature of ethical inquiry and knowledge of specific population groups, mindsets or issues addressed in the course, as well as to measure the student’s ability to produce sustained, consistent and persuasive communications to and with others, to think and write with clarity, and to demonstrate an appreciation of the significance of ethics in the healthcare setting.
6. Other Course Information
Review and Approval
December 10, 2013