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Handbooks Courses Units

CHB5203 - Health care ethics: Principles and practice

12 points, SCA Band 1, 0.250 EFTSL

Postgraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: Jo Asscher


Clayton First semester 2008 (Day)
Clayton First semester 2008 (Off-campus)
Clayton Second semester 2008 (Off-campus)


This unit focuses initially on four ethical principles used to justify decisions in patient care: autonomy, privacy, beneficence, and justice. These principles are then applied to a variety of ethical issues in health care practice, such as the allocation of health care resources, the justifiability of paternalistic interventions, breaches of confidentiality, assisted reproductive technologies, surrogate motherhood, and euthanasia. The role of health professionals is also considered, in relation to issues in family caregiving, and conscientious refusals to treat patients, and the unit also examines some key ethical issues in biomedical research involving human subjects.
For further information, please see:


On successful completion of CHB5203, students should have acquired the skills to:

  • bring a rigorous framework of principles of health care ethics to the analysis and evaluation of certain ethical issues in patient care;
  • think critically about the key concepts involved in those principles; and
  • make informed judgements about the ethics of certain ways of acting in ethically sensitive areas of patient care, and be able to defend those judgements on the basis of argument.


Essay (2000 words) : 20%
Essay (4000 words) : 40%
Take-home exam (3000 words) : 40%
Off-campus students are also required to keep a journal, recording their work for each topic

Contact hours

2 hours per week


CHB5101 or equivalent


CHB5203 and CHB5233; CHB5203 and CHB4203

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