Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Jurisprudence and Ethics for Dental Hygienists

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course



DESCRIPTION This study unit introduces the student to the principles of ethics and jurisprudence and their application to scenarios in everyday dental hygiene practice. The emphasis is on the regulation of dental hygiene practice and professional behaviour in relation to patients, colleagues and society.

There is discussion of subjects of medico-legal importance, in relation to locally applicable legislation and relevant regulation. Topics include identification, wounding, complications of injuries, child abuse, treatment, public health issues and research.

The ethical issues are focussed on personal behaviour and on patient rights with particular reference to vulnerable patients, such as children. Topics covered include autonomy, consent, confidentiality, data protection, research and health resource management.

Study-unit Aims

The main aims of the study-unit are:
1. to promote ethical awareness in everyday dental hygiene practice;
2. to encourage professional behaviour;
3. to educate as to applicable health legislation regulating dental hygiene practice.

Learning Outcomes

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

1. give a brief outline of health law in Malta;
2. outline the principles of a medico-legal investigation;
3. describe the different types of facial wounds and their complications;
4. explain the procedures used to establish identification, in particular the role of dental examination;
5. describe health law relevant to professional registration and regulation;
6. outline legislation regarding wounding, data protection, consent, medication and research;
7. explain the basic ethical principles; and
8. indicate specific ethical problems in dental health care.

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

1. describe the local judiciary system;
2. identify different wounds, including bitemarks, and their complications
3. obtain informed consent from adults and children
4. maintain confidentiality in dealing with patients and colleagues
5. apply the principles of Data Protection in relating to patients and in record keeping
6. state the possible areas of practice that may lead to malpractice and negligence
7. apply ethical principles in dental hygiene clinical situations
8. recognise limitations in duty of care.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings

Medical Ethics, A Case-Based Approach by L. Schwartz, P.E. Preece, R. A. Hendry, Saunders, ISBN 0-702-02543-7 (available in library)

Your Rights as a Patient by Pierre Mallia, PEG, ISBN 99909-0-320-4 (available in library)

Simpson's Forensic Medicine by Richard Shepherd
12th Edition Publishers : Arnold ISBN 0-340-764228 (available in library)

A very good forensic web site:

For Maltese Legislation:

Various Internet Resources / Tutorials are available for pathology. Try:

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study & Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Multiple Choice Questions Examination (2 Hours) SEM2 Yes 100%


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.