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HCA 301: Contemporary Ethical Issues in HCA

Course Description

This course is an examination of contemporary ethical issues that arise in the context of health care (including such issues as informed consent, termination of life support, research ethics, genetics and cloning, reproductive technologies, and professional ethics). The course will include an introduction to main ethical principles, codes of ethics, and ethical theories that are relevant to understanding and resolving ethical problems/issues. It will also examine current political issues, such as discussions about health care reform, end-of-life decisions, and biomedical research. (3 credits)

This course meets the following CAHIIM competencies for HIM Majors.

Prerequisites

  • ENG 101: English Composition 1
  • ENG 102: English Composition 2

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs)

Students who successfully complete this course will be able to:

  1. Recognize ethical dilemmas and problems that arise in the context of health care;
  2. Analyze ethical cases/problems in the light of the following:
    • Contemporary authors positions
    • Ethically relevant facts about contemporary medical technology,
    • Various forms of moral thoughtfulness (consequentialist, deontological, virtue, justice) and ethical theory
    • Relevant ethical principles and/or codes of ethics
  3. Recognize the forms of moral thoughtfulness used by others in presenting solutions to ethical dilemmas/problems
  4. Identify his/her ethical decision making process
  5. Express his/her ethical convictions logically and consistently
  6. Draw upon contemporary discourse about health care ethics to discuss/debate ethical issues

General Education Outcomes (GEOs)

Please check the applicable GEOs for this course, if any, by outcomes at GEO Category Search, or by subject area at GEO Discipline Search.

Course Activities and Grading

Assignment(s)

Weight

Moral Forms of Thoughtfulness Exercise

10%

Case Postings and Discussions - 6 cases

60%

Research Paper

20%

News Article Posting and Discussion

10%

Total

100%

Required Textbooks

Available through Charter Oak's online bookstore

  • Beauchamp, Tom L. Principles of Biomedical Ethics. 7th ed. Oxford University Press, 2013. ISBN-10: 0-19-992458-9 or ISBN-13: 978-0-19-992458-5

Additional Required Materials

(available online)

  • “Forms of Moral Thoughtfulness,”  by Michael J. Hartwig (This will be available in the Course Documents section of the course.)
  • American Medical Association, American Nursing Association and American Hospital Association Codes of Ethics
  • Nuremberg Code of Ethics

Course Schedule

(Note: Course week runs Monday 12:00 am EST - Sunday 11:59 pm EST)

This course will cover 7 units over the duration of 8 weeks.

Learning Unit

SLOs

Readings and Exercises

Assignment(s)

1

1-6

Topic: Forms of Moral Thoughtfulness (Ethical Theory and Health Care)

  • This unit introduces forms of moral thoughtfulness, ethical theory, the relationship between law, morality, and professional ethics, and components of ethical analysis.
  • Outcomes:
    • Identify forms of moral thoughtfulness being used by decision makers in various scenarios.
    • Distinguish different ethical theories and how they are relevant to ethical cases.
    • Identify competing obligations, values or consequences in ethical dilemmas.
  • Readings:
    • Chapter Nine in Principles of Biomedical Ethics
    • Pages 249-262 from Chapter 7 (Justice) in Principles of Biomedical Ethics
    • “Moral Forms of Thoughtfulness,” by Michael Hartwig (Located in Course Documents)
  • Read assigned material
  • Participate in Discussions - Introduce yourself to class and identify a health care ethical problem you hope to resolve. (Due by Thursday 11:59 pm EST - Week 1)
  • Complete Moral Forms of Thoughtfulness Exercise (Due by Saturday 11:59 pm EST - Week 1)
  • Complete Case Study Exercise - Ethical Case with Patient Dan
    • Individual Response (Due by Thursday 11:59 pm EST - Week 2)
    • Respond to two classmates (Due by Saturday 11:59 pm EST - Week 2)

2

1-6

Topic: Professional Obligations

  • This unit explores the professional codes of conduct of health care professionals and their relationship to patient rights.
  • Outcomes:
    • Identify professional codes of conduct.
    • Correlate these codes to broad ethical principles such as respect for autonomy, beneficence and justice.
    • Underscore tensions in the codes of ethics and approaches for balancing or navigating those tensions.
  • Readings:
    • Chapter 8 – in Principles of Biomedical Ethics.
    • Chapter 4 – in Principles of Biomedical Ethics.
    • AMA, ANA and AHA codes of professional conduct/ethics.
Go to the following organizations, and look up their code(s) of ethics:
  • Read assigned material
  • Complete Case Study Exercise - Ethical Case with Patient Sarah
    • Individual Response (Due by Thursday 11:59 pm EST - Week 3)
    • Respond to two classmates (Due by Sunday 11:59 pm EST - Week 3)

3

1-6

Topic: End of Life Decisions

  • This unit explores issues surrounding end-of-life decisions and distinctions regarding euthanasia (active, passive, voluntary, involuntary).
    • Outcomes:
      • Be able to distinguish between active, passive, voluntary and involuntary euthanasia;
      • Be able to articulate the moral arguments for and against active/passive euthanasia.
      • Use moral forms of thoughtfulness to explore end-of-life choices.
      • Show appreciation for conversations that should take place either in an advance directive setting or with patient during critical choices at end-of-life.
  • Readings:
    • Read Chapter 5 in Principles of Biomedical Ethics.
  • Read assigned material
  • Complete Case Study Exercise - Ethical Case with Patient Margaret
    • Individual Response (Due by Thursday 11:59 pm EST - Week 4)
    • Respond to two classmates (Due by Sunday 11:59 pm EST - Week 4)

4

1-6

Topic: Reproductive Technologies and Abortion

  • This unit explores questions about contemporary reproductive technologies, including questions about abortion.
    • Outcomes:
      • Be able to identify different types of reproductive technologies and the ethical questions associated with them.
      • Be able to articulate the history of philosophical and religious arguments about the moral ontological status of embryos and fetuses.
      • Be able to explore and discuss contemporary implications of reproductive technologies such as artificial insemination, in-vitro fertilization, surrogacy and other procedures.

  • Readings:
    • Read Chapter 3 in Principles of Biomedical Ethics.
  • Read assigned material
  • Complete Case Study Exercise - Ethical Case with Patients Sally and Francesca
    • Individual Response (Due by Thursday 11:59 pm EST - Week 5)
    • Respond to two classmates (Due by Sunday 11:59 pm EST - Week 5)
  • Submit Research Paper Proposal (Due by Sunday 11:59 pm EST - Week 5)

5

1-6

Topic: Research Ethics

  • This unit will focus on the ethical principles of research using human subjects. Focus will be given to applying these principles to pharmaceutical and stem cell research.
  • Outcomes:
    • Outline main obligations of researchers to human subjects
    • Identify situations where the rights of human subjects are at risk
    • Describe competing obligations or values of physicians who participate in research protocols
  • Readings:
    • Read Chapter 6 in Principles of Biomedical Ethics.
  • Read assigned material
  • Complete Case Study Exercise - Ethical Case with Dr. Roberts
    • Individual Response (Due by Thursday 11:59 pm EST - Week 6)
    • Respond to two classmates (Due by Sunday 11:59 pm EST - Week 6)

6

1-6

Topic: Justice and Public Health Issues

  • This unit will introduce theories and principles of justice and how they bear upon the distribution of and access to health care resources. Discussion will focus on the right to health care and the managed care system.
  • Outcomes:
    • Distinguish different theories of justice as they are argued in ethical situations
    • Outline differences between legal rights, human rights, positive rights, and negative rights
    • Identify competing values that are operative in the current U.S. health care systems
  • Readings:
    • Read Chapter 7 in Principles of Biomedical Ethics.
  • Read assigned material
  • Complete Case Study Exercise - Ethical Case with Patient Madge
    • Individual Response (Due by Thursday 11:59 pm EST - Week 7)
    • Respond to two classmates (Due by Sunday 11:59 pm EST - Week 7)

7

1-6

Topic: Student Research and Synthesis

  • This unit allows students to synthesize course learning around a select contemporary health care topic.
  • Outcomes:
    • Identify a contemporary health care dilemma, problem or issue.
    • Identify key contributions of experts to address this issue.
    • Identify how moral forms of thoughtfulness illuminate the issue from different perspectives.
    • Draw personal conclusions about how best to resolve the question/issue.
  • Submit Research Paper - 8-10 paper on a topic of student choice that centers on a contemporary health care issue/problem. (Due by Monday 11:59 pm EST - Week 8)
  • Participate in Discussions -Post in the course conclusions - identifying key outcomes/learning that has occurred over the course (Due by Saturday 11:59 pm EST - Week 8)
  • Complete Course Evaluation

COSC Accessibility Statement

Charter Oak State College encourages students with disabilities, including non-visible disabilities such as chronic diseases, learning disabilities, head injury, attention deficit/hyperactive disorder, or psychiatric disabilities, to discuss appropriate accommodations with the Office of Accessibility Services at OAS@charteroak.edu.

COSC Policies, Course Policies, Academic Support Services and Resources

Students are responsible for knowing all Charter Oak State College (COSC) institutional policies, course-specific policies, procedures, and available academic support services and resources. Please see COSC Policies for COSC institutional policies, and see also specific policies related to this course. See COSC Resources for information regarding available academic support services and resources.