Report of best practice: Development of ethics manual as an integral component of undergraduate curriculum and application for graduates and practitioners

June 25, 2007

An ethics manual to support undergraduate lectures or practitioners in a healthcare environment has been developed. The manual was developed from course materials designed to ensure an integrated approach throughout a four year pharmacy program as teaching professionalism, as well as professional ethics, has become increasingly important and a focus of significant research in the health professions. The manual strengthens the ethics component taught as part of the pharmacy program. The aim is to instil a culture of ethical reasoning and decision making in students that will then become part of their professional practice. Key ethical principles are introduced at the commencement of the manual, applied initially to student issues and then extended to a variety of relevant situations such as DNA technology and research and professional practice, culminating in a series of case studies investigating a range of ethical dilemmas necessitating sound ethical reasoning. Changes in consumer expectations and generally more ready access to health related information make it critical for health professionals to have a sound grounding in ethical reasoning skills. Educators need to change their approach to developing learning materials to reflect these consumer changes and to enable ongoing support for practitioners.

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