Queen's University
BMED 373 Health Ethics, Law, and Policy

BMED 373, Health Ethics, Law, and Policy, is an introduction to ethical, legal and regulatory requirements for people working in the health professions. Many of the decisions healthcare workers make have an ethical or legal dimension.  In some of these situations, knowing or doing the right thing can be unclear or difficult. In this course, students will learn how to recognize aspects of health care that raise ethical and legal questions and will develop approaches to creatively and effectively answering these questions.  Over twelve weeks, we cover ethical and legal issues encountered in most types of health care organizations, including acute care hospitals, rehabilitation hospitals, outpatient facilities, dental clinics, nursing homes, home care organizations, and health care systems. The values, principles and laws we review are also applicable to diverse client and patient populations.

This course is designed to prepare students who are planning to apply to health professional programs and emphasizes learning-by-doing. In addition to introducing students to a wide range of ethical and legal issues in healthcare using a case-based approach, it also builds on the foundational skills in BMED 173.  Students will develop advanced abilities to charitably understand contentious issues from multiple angles, assemble evidence in order to develop a position, and to communicate complex ideas. Students will also become acquainted with some of the biases, mistakes and mental shortcuts people commonly take in their reasoning and how to avoid them.

(Minimum 3rd year (level 3) standing in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program and BMED 173/3.0) or (Minimum 3rd year (level 3) standing within the Life Science or Biochemistry program) or permission of the instructor.

  • No more than 3.0 units from BMED 373/3.0 and PHIL 301/3.0.
  • No more than 3.0 units from BMED 373/3.0 and PHIL 157/3.0.

After completing BMED 373, students will be able to:

  1. Build on skills developed in BMED173 in order to demonstrate increased awareness and understanding of the ethical and legal dimensions of healthcare provision and administration.
  2. Access, analyze and consolidate relevant health legislation and case law, professional codes of ethics and practice standards, institutional policies, and scholarship in order to facilitate decision-making.
  3. Use critical thinking skills, tools and resources in order to clarify what issues are at stake; bring together stakeholder perspectives, evidence and other contextual features; generate a wide range of options in alignment with law, values and duties; and make reasoned decisions about what is right, just or fair in particular situations.
  1. Communicator
  2. Advocate
  3. Scholar
  4. Professional
  5. Collaborator

All assessments will be graded using marking rubrics.

Assessment 1 – News Beat Assignment (10%)

Assessment 2 – Case Deliberations (30%)

Assessment 3 – Advance Directives Project (30%)

Assessment 4 – Case Analysis Paper (30%)

8–10 hours a week (96–120 hours per term).

Required Texts

  • Course reader and notes prepared by the instructor.
  • Study resources including course and technology guides, and primers on critical thinking and conflict resolution.

Recommended Reading

Anthony Weston.  A Rulebook for Argument.  4th edition. Hackett Publishing Co., 2007.