Friday, August 21, 2009

Teach an Integrated Ethics Class

Rosemary Flanigan
August 21, 2009

Thinking back on our years of preparing ethics committees to integrate ethics into every aspect of healthcare delivery in the institution leads me to suggest what Hans Uffelmann proposed years ago:

Sensitize (What’s the Problem?),
Analyze (What are the Facts?),
Synthesize (What ought I/we Do?)
and Actualize (“Can I/we Behave Morally?)

In other words, instill the understanding that there is no “purely factual” element in the entire curriculum! It is all fraught with ethical implications! And much of it is open to argument. (How do you justify placing one value over another? How do you justify proceeding with such obviously risky consequences?)

But over and beyond it all, an integrated ethics class will be successful when the students remember and follow the example of their mentor! She could be a brilliant “presenter” but if her “being a good nurse” doesn’t come across, the endeavor will be easily forgotten.

So constantly raising the ethical threshold by her example will win the day.

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