• University of Surrey logo
  • University of Exeter

Ethical Decision-Making in Care

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

3,536 enrolled on this course

Ethical Decision-Making in Care
  • Duration

    4 weeks
  • Weekly study

    2 hours
  • Accreditation

    AvailableMore info

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.

    • What Should Becky Do?

      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

    Negotiating disagreements in care

    • 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 experience

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

    • 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

    Ethical decision-making and healthy choices

    • 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?

    • Ethics and health promotion

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

  • Week 4

    Ethics, the care of older adults and 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?

  • Date to be announced

Add to Wishlist to be emailed when new dates are announced

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 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.

University of Exeter

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

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

Learner reviews

Learner reviews cannot be loaded due to your cookie settings. Please and refresh the page to view this content.

Do you know someone who'd love this course? Tell them about it...

You can use the hashtag #ethicsincare to talk about this course on social media.