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Ethical Decision-Making in Care

Raise your awareness of everyday ethical issues in care and learn techniques to make ethical decisions.

459 enrolled on this course

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Ethical Decision-Making in Care

459 enrolled on this course

  • 4 weeks

  • 2 hours per week

  • Accreditation available

  • Digital certificate when eligible

  • Intermediate level

Find out more about how to join this course

Learn how to use ethical frameworks to make decisions in care

On this course, you’ll explore ethical issues that arise in daily care, and learn the best practices for reflecting on and making moral decisions.

You’ll consider different ethical frameworks, including human rights, virtue ethics and the ‘Four Principles’ of medical ethics: nonmaleficence, beneficence, justice, and respect for autonomy.

You’ll compare methods of analysing a caregiving scenario, and identify the moral and ethical problems of a care situation. You’ll also learn how to apply a deliberative framework, where deliberation on a decision from multiple points of view is essential.


  • Week 1

    Ethical principles and decision-making in care

    • Introduction

      Get started on engaging with ethics and with other course participants. You will be invited to introduce yourselves, share your interest in the topic area of 'ethical decision-making in care' and begin to 'do' ethics.

    • What is ethics?

      Get to grips with ethics in care, starting from media stories and moving to definitions of what ethics is and what it is not.

    • The Four Principles Approach

      Getting to know a first and well known approach to ethical decision-making.

    • Becky's story

      Apply the Four Principles Approach to a midwifery scenario.

    • Application of the Four Principles Approach

      Reflect on what midwife Becky did in this scenario and how this approach can help course participants respond ethically to pandemic care experiences.

  • Week 2

    Human rights in care decision-making

    • The development of ethics in care

      Explore reasons why ethics has become so important in care.

    • Introducing a Human Rights Perspective

      An introduction to the fundamentals of a Human Rights Perspective and how rights are applied in the English National Health Service Constitution.

    • Nicky's story

      Apply the Human Rights perspective to a challenging real-life care situation.

    • Laurence's story

      Reflect on the relationship between human rights and mental health problems.

    • Human Rights in action in health and social care

      Learn about guidance on ethical-decision making and consider how a Human Rights Perspective and The Four Principles Approach are related. Course participants will discuss how Human Rights relate to the current pandemic.

  • Week 3

    Virtues to negotiate ethical dilemmas in care

    • Introducing Virtue Ethics

      Learn about the fundamentals of a Virtue Ethics Approach and assess your own character. How virtuous are you?

    • Jack's story

      You are introduced to Jack and his healthy food choices dilemma. What is the best way to support him?

    • Jennifer's story

      Reflect on Jennifer's dilemma and consider what ethical qualities are needed to respond to the situation.

    • Virtues and pandemic ethics

      Explore the value of a Virtue Ethics Approach in health promotion/public health including during a pandemic.

  • Week 4

    The ETHICS Deliberative Framework

    • Introducing the ETHICS Deliberative Framework

      Learn about the ETHICS Deliberative Framework, which will help you approach decision-making in care in a more structured way.

    • Applying the ETHICS Deliberative Framework

      Apply the Ethics Deliberative Framework to a scenario set in later-life care to gain practice and explore its value.

    • Reflecting on ethics in care

      Reflect on ethical decision-making in care, on why good care matters, and revisit the course's poll. The final discussion enables course participants to share - and learn from - experiences of decision-making during the pandemic.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain the meaning of 'ethics' in relation to care
  • Explain how ethics differs from related concepts
  • Explain The Four Principles Approach to care ethics
  • Apply the Four Principles to a midwifery scenario
  • Identify why ethics in care now receives a lot of media attention
  • Describe human rights frameworks that impact on care-giving
  • Evaluate the role of human rights in care
  • Apply insights in human rights to decision-making regarding disagreements in care
  • Describe the key elements of Virtue Ethics
  • Identify moral problems that arise in care
  • Debate the usefulness of Virtue Ethics in relating to care-recipient choices
  • Apply Virtue Ethics to public health decision-making
  • Identify ethical aspects of an elder care scenario
  • Compare and contrast three different ways of analysing an elder care scenario
  • Apply a Deliberative Framework to care-giving scenarios
  • Discuss the role of ethical decision-making in care during a pandemic
  • Reflect on your learning from this course

Who is the course for?

This course is primarily designed for caregivers, care assistants and nurses.

However, the course will also be of interest to anyone engaged in health and social care, or who uses health and social care services.

Who developed the course?

University of Exeter

The University of Exeter is a Russell Group university. It combines world-class research with very high levels of student satisfaction.

University of Surrey

The University of Surrey is a global community of ideas and people, dedicated to life-changing education and research. Surrey empowers students for personal and professional success by providing exceptional teaching and practical learning.

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Develop skills to further your career

  • Access to this course
  • Access to 1,000+ courses
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Digital certificate when you're eligible

Cancel for free anytime

Buy this course

$54/one-off payment

Fulfill your current learning need

  • Access to this course
  • Learn at your own pace
  • Discuss your learning in comments
  • Printed and digital certificate when you’re eligible

Limited access


Sample the course materials

  • Access expires 30 Dec 2022

Find out more about certificates, Unlimited or buying a course (Upgrades)

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