University of Utah
Nursing 592
Reflections on Ethical Considerations for Health Professions:
an interdisciplinary class for Nursing, Medical and Pharmacy students
First taught Fall, 1996

Taught by
Penny Brooke, RN, MS, JD
Jay Jacobsen, MD
Susan Cameron, APRN
Samuel Shoemaker, MD, JD

How the course meets the eight criteria:

  1. Students in the class will provide needed services to individuals, schools and organizations through work with the College of Nursing's Community Partners. These partners were identified because of the services they focus upon to meet the unmet health needs of our community. The agencies we work with include: Project Hope, Success by Six, Utahns Against Hunger, Division of Family Services Foster Care Program, Fourth Street Clinic, Healthy Habits, Utah Housing Authority, and Prevent Blindness Projects.
  2. The ethical issues that have arisen in the community settings in which students in this course will be providing service have been challenging already. This course will provide a much needed setting for students to learn how to approach ethical decision making as well as a rich experience for reflection.
  3. The course will include a focus on reflection upon the students service experiences. Weekly journals as well as a course paper will provide methods for students to think about what they learned through the service experiences and how the ethical content provided in this course relates to these experiences.
  4. The course will include methods to assess the learning derived from the service including weekly reflection sessions and journaling; a class presentation and paper which will demonstrate the students learning.
  5. The outside evaluator for the College of Nursing Pew grant is currently developing a tool for achieving client feedback. This instrument will be utilized to offer recipients the opportunity to evaluate the service they receive.
  6. The service opportunities, although focused on health issues are definitely aimed at developing the civic education of the students as citizens. Students are not allowed to practice their future career professional roles without faculty supervision. This is not a clinical experience and therefore their role as volunteer is different from their role as a student in a health sciences clinical rotation where licensed supervision is required.
  7. Knowledge from all of the health professions will be utilized in working with our agency partners and individual clients served. Ethical dilemmas and their resolutions will be discussed with the agency staff. Methods for evaluating ethical dilemmas will be discussed with the community agencies involved.
  8. The reflections portion of the class will allow students to learn from each other as well as from the instructors. The didactic content and evaluation feedback from the course will allow students to learn from the instructors also.

Overview: This interdisciplinary course will allow health sciences students to identify and discuss ethical issues faced by health care providers. Community service experiences will be reflected upon in relation to the course content.

Students from different health care professions will 1. Discuss ethical concepts and theories for ethical decision making; 2. Participate in an interdisciplinary health team service project; 3. Identify ethical issues that arise through service experiences as well as in health care settings;
4. Display an appreciation of how ethical dilemmas affect all members of the health care team.

Teaching methods:
Classroom discussions, lectures, student presentations, service project, and journals of service experiences.

Evaluation: Student participation as measured through class attendance, completion of service hours, achievement of objectives as documented in student journal and a final paper.

Active student participation as measured through class attendance and evidence of:
- thoughtful, reflective contributions offered to class discussions - regularity of service hours satisfactorily completed and logged - depth and completeness of communication through reflective journals and final paper (copies to also be shared by student with community partner).


Week One: Introduction to Course
service-learning partners

Week two: Ethical decision making and introduction to Moral Theories cultural and religious issues
moral foundations and theories for decision making concepts

Week Three: who should decide/patient autonomy role of autonomy
informed consent
ethics committees
health team roles and family impacts on decision making surrogate decision makers

Week Four: Beneficence
Do no harm
Patient advocacy
clinician-patient relationships

Week Five: Issues at the beginning and end of life abortion
neonatal care of uncertain benefit
genetic manipulations
living wills/Special directives
Euthanasia (active/passive)/Assistive suicide futile treatments
right to refuse treatments
DNR orders

Week Six: Health care issues and American Society Abortion

Week Seven: Scarce resources/Access to health care organ donations
over-crowded agencies

Week Eight: Confidentiality/privacy issues patient records
staff communications
communicable diseases

Week Nine: Economic impacts on decision making managed care contracts
conflicts of interest
quality assurance
gag clauses

Week Ten: Wrap up
the health care team as agents of the patient and the institution

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 15:40:32 MST
From: Renee Buchanan <
Subject: Nursing 592