Ability VIII: Moral Reasoning and Clinical Ethics

The competent graduate recognizes the ethical dimensions of medicine and health policy.  The graduate formulates, defends and effectively carries out a course of action that takes into account the ethical complexity of the health care setting.  The graduate respects patients’ values and beliefs, and is able to reconcile them with alternative options while maintaining ethical integrity.

Criteria for Assessment:

1.  Understands principles and practices ethical behaviors such as beneficence, non-maleficence and autonomy within the health care system

2.  Develops the ability to defend ethical choices in the treatment of an individual patient

        -Identifies alternative courses of action
        -Obtains medical facts relevant to patient’s treatment and care
        -Determines the ethical values, obligations or duties and rights
         implicated in the patient’s treatment
        -Selects and defends a particular course of action
        -Considers the culture and values of individuals and communities in
         making medical decisions
        -Describes the ethical implications of health disparities within the
         population
        -Acts to benefit the patient when a conflict of interest exists

3. Articulates ethical issues with other health care professionals

4.  Effectively integrates ethical considerations into the care of his or her own patients including but not limited to:

        -Obtains informed consent
        -Evaluates a patient’s capacity to consent or refuse treatment and how to
         proceed if a patient is incapable of medical decision making
        -Ability to care for patients with a poor prognosis, including patients who
         are terminally ill, in an ethically sensitive manner

5.  Negotiates ethical conflict if appropriate between patients and their families