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    Code of practice, medico-legal obligations and practical ethical conundrums in general practice.

    This fully online course is designed to help any health practitioner working in general practice, whether urban or rural, doctor, nurse or allied health professional with their own practice and ethical challenges. We cover fundamental ethical topics such as autonomy, consent, confidentiality, justice, resource allocation and trust, as well as less traditional ones such as climate change and refugee health, within a case-based approach utilising students' own cases. Our emphasis is on enhancing your abilities to make reasoned decisions based on knowledge of ethical theory, lived experience and self-reflection. Web-based resources and regular group communication consolidates collegial in-depth learning. This paper is approved by the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners for the academic component of the GPEP registrar training and qualifies for 75 RNZCGP MOPS CME credits

    About this paper

    Paper title Ethics in General Practice
    Subject General Practice
    EFTS 0.125
    Points 15 points
    Teaching period Not offered in 2024 (Distance learning)
    Domestic Tuition Fees ( NZD ) $1,551.63
    International Tuition Fees Tuition Fees for international students are elsewhere on this website.
    GENX 824
    Limited to
    PGCertGP, PGCertPHC, PGDipGP, PGDipHealSc, PGDipPHC, PGDipRPHP, MHealSc

    Suitable for all health professionals working in general practice, rural medicine and primary health care. Non-medical graduates will require departmental approval.

    Teaching staff

    Dr Katherine Hall

    Paper Structure

    This is a largely case-based paper that encourages self-directed learning and the ability to reason ethically. There are four modules in the course. There are two assignments for assessment.

    Teaching Arrangements

    This paper is distance taught using Moodle. Weekly evening seminars (usually Wednesday night 7.30-9.00pm) via Zoom are consolidated by a two-day weekend programme (all online) at the start of the paper. The course concludes with one weekend (online) day of student presentations.

    Rogers W and Braunack-Mayer A. Practical Ethics for General Practice 2nd ed. 2009. Oxford University Press: Oxford.
    Course outline

    This paper uses the online teaching platform Moodle and requires students to have access to a computer with good Internet access. The first half of the semester works progressively through the prescribed text. The first assignment – a formal case analysis from the student’s own experience – concludes this section. The second half examines topical and new areas of bioethics in the seminars whilst supporting students in writing their second assignment, a formal research essay on a bioethics topic of their own choice.

    Graduate Attributes Emphasised
    Lifelong learning, Critical thinking, Ethics, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
    View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
    Learning Outcomes

    Students who successfully complete the paper will have

    • An improved understanding of key approaches to ethical reasoning.
    • The ability to apply ethical theories to ethical dilemmas in general practice.
    • Better understanding of the relationship between ethical values and medico-legal obligations.


    Not offered in 2024

    Teaching method
    This paper is taught through Distance Learning
    Learning management system
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