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Monash University Handbook 2010 Postgraduate - Unit

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

FacultyFaculty of Arts
OfferedCaulfield First semester 2010 (Day)
Coordinator(s)Rob Sparrow


This unit aims to develop students' critical and analytical understanding of key ethical issues in patient care. The unit focuses initially on four main ethical principles, embodying the concepts of autonomy, privacy, beneficence, and justice. These principles are used to analyse and discuss a variety of broad ethical issues which arise in patient care, such as the allocation of health care resources, the justifiability of paternalism, breaches of patient confidentiality, in vitro fertilisation, research involving humans, and euthanasia. There is also some discussion of the role of health professionals, in relation to conscientious refusals to treat patients, and issues in family caregiving.


On successful completion of this unit, students should have acquired the skills to:

  1. Use a rigorous framework of principles of health care ethics to analyse and evaluate ethical issues in patient care.
  2. Think critically about the key concepts involved in those principles.
  3. Make informed judgements about the ethics of certain patient care practices, and use argument to defend those judgements.


Essay (3000 words): 60%
Take-home exam (2000 words): 40%

Chief examiner(s)

Robert Sparrow

Contact hours

1 two-hour seminar per week


CHB5233 and CHB5203