Clinical ethics and COVID-19
What should I do when PPE is limited?
How should I prioritise my family’s well-being and doing my job?
How do I work with resource scarcity?
The COVID-19 pandemic has created new clinical ethics challenges for clinicians. Public health considerations are shaping individual patient care. Situations of resource scarcity have brought fair allocation into the foreground of clinical practice. Clinicians’ personal risk of infection has generated difficult ethical challenges.
This online course aims to provide structured ways of navigating the clinical ethics challenges generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It incorporates short discussions of key ethical issues and concepts, with practical ethics tools for decision-making.
Clinical ethics and COVID-19 is designed for clinicians in hospital settings and primary care. It is intended for medical, nursing and allied health staff. It would also be useful for students training for these health professions.
- Clinical ethics principles
- What's different in a pandemic?
- Steps of ethical decision-making
- Balancing and moral regret
- Health resources in a pandemic
- Ethical criteria for resource allocation
- Fair process
- Duty to provide care
- Protecting health professionals
- Balancing health professionals' safety with the duty to provide care
- Tutorial 1: Clinical ethics - what's different in a pandemic?
- Tutorial 2: Allocation of scarce resources
- Tutorial 3: Health professionals' role
List of particular knowledge or skills obtained through course
- Use the steps of ethical decision-making to structure a challenging decision
- Understand the nature of moral regret and moral distress, and productive responses to these experiences
- Know the three key ethical considerations for resource allocation in a pandemic
- Articulate the elements of a fair process when allocating resources and prioritising patients in a pandemic
- Use a framework of questions to guide decision-making about ethically acceptable levels of protection for health professionals
There is no assessment requirement for this course, however each tutorial has embedded self-assessments and end of tutorial case study.
A Certificate of Completion is provided upon satisfactory completion of the course.
Course completion requires approximately ~3 hours of elearning.
Students have the flexibility to study in their own time and location. Program materials can be accessed through the eLearning Education app on mobiles and tablets with iOS, Android or Windows systems. Program materials can also be accessed using a web browser.
Senior Lecturer in Health Ethics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne
Dr Rosalind McDougall is an ethicist in the School of Population and Global Health at the University of Melbourne. Rosalind’s research and teaching focuses on the ethical challenges faced by health professionals. Her background is in philosophy and qualitative research, and she brings these ideas and approaches to the interdisciplinary analysis of issues in patient care. She has published widely in the fields of clinical ethics and reproductive ethics. Rosalind has been involved in providing clinical ethics support in hospitals since 2008, and she co-founded the Australasian Clinical Ethics Network.
Professor in Health Professions Education, Department of Medical Education, University of Melbourne; Clinical Ethicist, Children’s Bioethics Centre, Royal Children’s Hospital
Clare Delany is a professor in health professions education in the Department of Medical Education, Melbourne Medical School, at the University of Melbourne. She is a clinical ethicist at the Children’s Bioethics Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital and a consultant clinical ethicist at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. Clare researches and teaches in areas of critical thinking, clinical reasoning, paediatric bioethics and clinical ethics. In health professions education, Clare works closely with health professionals from a variety of disciplines to conduct education research relevant to their clinical contexts. In clinical ethics, Clare conducts both individual and committee-based clinical ethics consultations, supporting clinicians in ethical reasoning and deliberation.
Professor in Health Ethics, Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, University of Melbourne; Academic Director, Children’s Bioethics Centre, Royal Children’s Hospital
Professor Lynn Gillam is an experienced clinical ethicist, originally trained in philosophy (MA, 1988, Oxon) and bioethics (PhD, Monash, 2000). She is a professor in the Centre for Health Equity in the Melbourne School of Population and Global Health, at the University of Melbourne. Lynn is also the Academic Director of the Children’s Bioethics Centre at the Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne. At RCH, Lynn has been involved in over 200 ethics consultations since 2005. She also provides policy advice and leads research into a range of issues in paediatric clinical ethics. Lynn teaches medical ethics in the MD curriculum, and ethics and qualitative research design in the MPH. She also supervises PhD, Masters and Honours students. Lynn has a long-standing research interest in human research ethics, and she is the Chair of the University’s Central Human Research Ethics Committee. Lynn is a member of a number of state and federal advisory bodies, including the Victorian Independent Medical Advisory Committee on Medicinal Cannabis and the NHMRC Clinical Ethics Working Group.
Palliative Care Specialist and Clinical Ethics Lead, Austin Health
Dr Danielle Ko trained as a lawyer and GP in Australia before completing fellowships in both medical ethics and palliative medicine in Boston, USA. Danielle’s area of expertise is in the intersection of medicine, law and clinical ethics as it relates to everyday clinical practice, as well as at the end of life. Danielle is a palliative care consultant at Austin Health, the Clinician Engagement Lead for the Quality and Safety Department, and the Clinical Ethics Lead for the institution. In her latter role, Danielle is helping to establish decision-making and ethics-support frameworks and processes to support hospital staff in their pandemic-related clinical and non-clinical decision making.
T: +61 3 8344 5673
This course is free for the public.: AUD $ 0 (incl GST)
There are no set entry requirements for this course.
There is no assessment requirement for this course, however each tutorial has embedded self-assessments and end of tutorial case study. A Certificate of Completion is provided upon satisfactory completion of the course.