Ethical Dimensions in Health Care

Subject POPH90213 (2012)

Note: This is an archived Handbook entry from 2012.

Credit Points: 12.50
Level: 9 (Graduate/Postgraduate)
Dates & Locations:

This subject has the following teaching availabilities in 2012:

Semester 1, Parkville - Taught on campus.
Pre-teaching Period Start not applicable
Teaching Period not applicable
Assessment Period End not applicable
Last date to Self-Enrol not applicable
Census Date not applicable
Last date to Withdraw without fail not applicable

10th & 24th March, 21st April, 5th & 19th May, 2012 (9.00am - 4.00pm)

Timetable can be viewed here. For information about these dates, click here.
Time Commitment: Contact Hours: 5 x 7 hour sessions; 35 hrs (taught over 5 Saturdays over the semester)
Total Time Commitment:

120 hours





Recommended Background Knowledge:


Non Allowed Subjects:

505-400/505-500 Health, ethics and society

Core Participation Requirements:

For the purposes of considering request for Reasonable Adjustments under the Disability Standards for Education (Cwth 2005), and Students Experiencing Academic Disadvantage Policy, academic requirements for this subject are articulated in the Subject Description, Subject Objectives, Generic Skills and Assessment Requirements of this entry.
The University is dedicated to provide support to those with special requirements. Further details on the disability support scheme can be found at the Disability Liaison Unit website.


Assoc Prof Lynn Gillam, Prof Marilys Guillemin


Centre for Health & Society
Melbourne School of Population Health
Tel: +61 3 8344 0827


Academic Programs Office
Melbourne School of Population Health
Tel: +61 3 8344 9339
Fax: +61 3 8344 0824

Subject Overview:

This subject introduces and critically examines standard conceptual approaches to health ethics and provides an introduction to conceptual approaches within other relevant disciplines. Through the employment of these different conceptual approaches, the subject challenges students to identify and critically analyse issues in professional health care practice and policy. The subject uses narratives from medicine, nursing and allied health to encourage students to explore the ethical dimensions of health care using the different disciplinary tools.
In this subject, we discuss standard approaches in health ethics to a variety of issues. For each, we will also examine intersections with other disciplinary approaches, and so explore new and different ways of looking at the issues. This approach takes the subject into relatively new territory in health care ethics. Throughout the course, a common theme will be the nexus between theory and practice. Opportunities for students to reflect on their own experience and professional practice will be built in.


It is intended that students completing this subject will:

  • have developed advanced understanding of the concepts and standard theoretical approaches in health ethics
  • have gained an understanding of conceptual approaches used in social sciences disciplines relevant to health ethics
  • be able to apply the concepts and approaches covered in the subject to professional health care practice
  • be able to use these conceptual approaches to critically analyse the ethical dimensions of current health practices and policy
  • develop an openness to critiques of standard approaches in health ethics


1. Critical analysis of set readings 1000 wds - 20%, due early in semester
2. Critical reflection on narrative 1000 wds - 30%, due mid semester
3. Essay (3,000 words) – 50%, due at the end of semester.

Prescribed Texts:

Guillemin, M., & Gillam, L., (2006) Telling moments: Everyday ethics in health care, Melbourne, IP Communications.

Recommended Texts:


Breadth Options:

This subject is not available as a breadth subject.

Fees Information: Subject EFTSL, Level, Discipline & Census Date
Generic Skills:

Upon completion of this subject a student should have gained the following skills:

  • critical analysis of academic writing
  • ability to formulate and support an argument
  • ability to comprehend and use complex abstract concepts
  • ability to make connections between theoretical concepts and everyday practice
Related Course(s): Master of Health Social Sciences
Master of Public Health
Postgraduate Diploma in Health Social Sciences
Related Majors/Minors/Specialisations: Education
Public Health
Social Health

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