Medical Practice Ethics: Normative and Virtue Ethics

  • Concepts learned in the course

From this course, I have learned several concepts that will be useful in my medical practice.  Among the most intriguing is the concept of normative ethics. Normative ethics relate to the distinction between right and wrong. In this concept, I learned that ethical decision-making is a contentious issue that often results in arguments and counterarguments as each person tries to justify their viewpoint. However, of importance is the ability to use each of the tools available to formulate the best possible decision. Part of this lesson is that there is no particularly wrong or right decision. On the contrary, the most important thing is to keep looking for the most appropriate course of action without despairing.

Another noticeable concept is virtue ethics. It refers to the perspective of ethics that glorifies reference to the moral character when solving ethical dilemmas.  Of particular interest under this perspective is character development. Virtue ethics proposes that a person should pursue the course that can lead them to a virtuous character. This concept is particularly useful in healthcare, owing to the nature of the jobs within it. It teaches that medical practitioners should seek to serve the sick because it is the right thing to do. This appeal to the moral character is likely to yield positive action amongst healthcare workers in their quest to fulfill their moral obligation.

The concept of healthcare ethics is also interesting. It teaches that the principles of autonomy, justice, beneficence, and non-maleficence from the foundation of the ethics used in making decisions in healthcare. Learning the four principles is both enlightening and obligating. They are simplified versions of the ethics from which medical practitioners should measure the quality of their actions. Knowing them is also a source of responsibility in that the healthcare workers who are aware of them are obligated to apply them at all times without deviating or relaxing.

  • Course improvement

A viable way in which the course may be improved is through the provision of more resources that are more diverse. There is a higher likelihood of gaining a better understanding of the lesson if students learn from multiple sources since they offer diverse perspectives of the same insight. Also, some people prefer learning from certain styles that are not included in the available materials. Providing more sources can make the lessons more interesting for a large percentage of the student population.

  • Application of knowledge

I have been trying my best to apply the lessons learned from this course. Above all, I have been trying my best to switch from my old tactics of handling ethical issues to using the newly learned approach of using healthcare ethics. I have been actively forcing myself to switch my thinking patterns to embrace the new ways whenever I am handling all patients of all kinds. I have made significant progress in the same, although I sometimes forget and use the old channels. However, I have learned that medical practitioners make mistakes (Goldman, 2011). For this reason, I continue pushing for improvement every day without feeling ashamed of my failures in the previous attempts.

  • Book perception

I think that ‘Healthcare Ethics: Critical Issues for the 21st century’ by Morrison and Furlong (2019) is comprehensive and good enough for use in learning this course. It is comprehensive in that it explains a wide variety of issues that are within this course. It omits very little, if any, essential information. It is also detailed in each of the phenomena that it explains. For this reason, it is recommendable for use by students with different understanding capacities. The book is also good in that it highlights the main points in different colors or italics, which enables ease of use, especially when tracing the main or sub-topics.

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