Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Critical/Creative Thinking in Ethical Applications to Health Care

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Health Sciences

DESCRIPTION Lectures on the application of lateral creative and critical thinking processes to problem solving and practical decision-making sessions will be conducted. This will be done in relation to contemporary concerns about public, professional and personal ethical responsibilities. Such 'contemporary' ethical issues include amongst others IVF, stem cell research, banking and use of tissues in research, electro convulsive therapy, human rights (e.g., children's involvement in decisions on health matters), abortion and end of life issues.

This section of the study unit will empower students when critically discussing the nature and role of theories, in guiding ethical decisions in workplace and community settings (organisational ethics) and in healthcare research (e.g., intellectual property, plagiarism). Through group work sessions, students will develop and discuss case studies arising from practice as well as contemporary ethical issues. This will enable students to demonstrate their understanding of theory and the methods for conducting an ethical analysis. Utilising these case studies, students will be facilitators of their colleagues learning through active and dynamic discussions and debates. Additionally students will become aware (as well as critically discuss) their own assumptions and prejudices that may impact on their own ethical professional development and practice.

Study-unit Aims

- To develop professional responsibility and accountability to make ethical decisions within clinical practice settings
- To examine contemporary ethical dilemmas using a comprehensive theoretical framework
- To expose students to various ethical issues that one may encounter when conducting research

Learning Outcomes

1. Knowledge & Understanding: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Discuss critically the nature and role of theories in guiding sound ethical decisionmaking;
- Explore the application of lateral and critical thinking processes to problem-solving of ethical issues in professional practice domains and related health contexts;
- Develop or revise policies related to healthcare ethics;
- Provide informed public comment about current healthcare issues;
- Identify and pursue issues that require formal research from an ethical perspective;
- Gain a critical understanding of one's own ethical judgements.

2. Skills: By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

- Discuss and debate ethical issues in various contexts both within intra and interdisciplinary contexts
- Recommend ethically appropriate clinical or administrative interventions
- Engage in reflective practices on ethical dilemmas for the professional development of self and others

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Main Texts

- Beauchamp, T.L & Childress, J.F. (2001). Principles of biomedical ethics. (5th ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.
- Devettere, R.J. (2010) Practical Decision Making in Health Care Ethics: Cases and Concepts. (revised third edition). Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
- Levine, C. (2012).Taking sides: Clashing views on bioethical issues. McGraw Hill Higher education.

Supplementary Texts

- Brookfield, S. D. (1991). Developing Critical Thinkers, Challenging Adults to Explore Alternative Ways of Thinking and Acting, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers.
- de Bono, E. (1996). Serious Creativity, Harper Collins.
- Furrow, b., Greaney, T.L., Johnson, S.H., Stoltzfus Jost, T., & Schwartz, R.L. (2008). Bioethics: Health Care Law & Ethics, (6th ed.). West Group.
- Mallia, P. (2011). A Handbook of Patient's Rights. Bioethics Research programme.(* A complimentary copy of this text will be provided to students following this module.)
- Paul, R.W. (1993). Critical Thinking, What every person needs to survive in a rapidly changing world, (Rev.3rd ed.).
- Rickards, T., Runco, M. A. & Moger, S. (2006). The Routledge Companion to Creativity, Routledge.
- Ruggiero, Vincent Ryan. (1998). The Art of Thinking: A Guide to Critical and Creative Thought, Addison-Wesley Educational Publishers Inc.
- Sternberg, Robert J. (1999). Handbook of Creativity, Cambridge University Press.

- Bioethics consultative committee Malta (2011). Ethical considerations on biobanking of Human tissues.

- Council of Europe (2008). Additional Protocol to the Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, concerning Genetic Testing for Health Purposes in

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Blended Learning

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation SEM2 Yes 30%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 70%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.