Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Psychological and Social Aspects of Health Care and Ethics

LEVEL 02 - Years 2, 3 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Faculty of Medicine and Surgery

DESCRIPTION The major part of this study-unit introduces psychological and sociological concepts, theories and research as they apply to medicine.

The lesser part of this study-unit continues to introduce ethics as a follow up to the first year.

Study-unit Aims:

The behavioural sciences, particularly the psychological and social aspects of health care part of the study-unit explores ways in which health and illness make sense within person's lives and how people understand their relationships with doctors and other health professionals.

The Ethics part of the study-unit explores ethical issues in relation to patienthood, beginning and end of life, principles of good care and professional vulnerabilities.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

A: Psychological and Social Aspects of health care

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Define the biopsychosocial model;
- List issues related to the developmental life cycle and their relationship with health and the lack of it. Areas include pregnancy and childbirth, reproduction, childhood development and health, adolescence, middle age and mid life, ageing and bereavement;
- Explain the process of personality development;
- Describe the process of development of emotions and sexuality;
- Explain the processes of learning, perception, development of thinking and memory problems;
- Describe changing patterns and measurement of Health and Illness;
- Illustrate concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention;
- Explain issues related to society and health including social class, groups, gender, ethnicity, housing, education, work, illness and disease, stigma and quality of life;
- Identify the principles underlying the changing of beliefs and attitudes and empowering of action;
- Recognize issues related to risk taking behaviours as well as alcohol, drugs and eating.

B: Ethics

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- List the main professional obligations of doctors;
- Explain ethical issues relating to beginning of life including human reproduction, abortion, sterilisation, screening and assisted conception;
- Explain ethical issues relating to children including rights, relevance of age in relation to competence to consent or refuse treatment, proxy decision making, and reporting child abuse;
- Discuss ethical issues relating to end of life including palliative care, length and quality of life, double effect, disproportionate treatment, assisted suicide, organs from cadavers and certification of death.

2. Skills:

A: Psychological and Social Aspects of health care

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Utilize the principles of giving good and bad news.

B: Ethics

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Apply their knowledge of rights and justice in health care with regard to specific categories of patients;
- Identify legal issues pertaining to treatment of patients;
- Recognize anthropological issues;
- Recognize ethical issues related to telling the truth and confidentiality;
- Recognize ethical issues related to vulnerabilities and challenges of doctors.

Recommended Textbook:

- Mallia P., A Handbook of Patients’s Rights, 2011, ISBN: 9789995701031.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Practical Guide to Medical Ethics and Law, Second Edition, Baxter C, Brennan MG, Colicott Y, Moller M. ISBN 190462731 S.
- You and Your Doctor, Mallia Pierre, Agenda 2006.
- Psychology and Sociology Applied to Medicine, Fourth Edition, Edwin van Teijlingen Gerald Humphris 2019. ISBN. 9780702062988.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisite Study-unit: MDS1023

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (1 Hour) SEM1 Yes 100%


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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.