Course InformationCLINICAL ETHICS FOR UROLOGISTS is an online curriculum that introduces and challenges you to appreciate more fully and therefore, respond more effectively to the ethical dimensions of medical practice in urology. Properly understood and regardless of specific specialty, the practice of medicine as a profession inevitably generates ethical questions for physicians, patients, their families, and society at large. Indeed, the fundamental question encountered by physicians in caring for their patients is not what can be done to help and heal them but rather what should be done. To answer this question requires considerations of a scientific, clinical, and ethical nature.
The original Ethics curriculum, released in 2008, was developed in association with the Society of University Urologists and Society of Urology Chairs and Program Directors. It consists of 17 modules, which provide a means for driving achievement of the specific objectives for the core competencies in professionalism. The Ethics' curriculum is structured to develop a knowledge base of the "ethical principles" and of other matters important to the ethical practice of urology and other specialties of contemporary medicine. For example, instructional modules include the legal aspects of such topics as informed consent and the various approaches to thinking through ethical dilemmas at (as well as beyond) the bedside. In addition to knowledge of clinical ethics, however, the curriculum is designed to foster in you an appreciation of the moral history of the profession and of the current state of debate about a range of ethical issues--from assisted suicide and euthanasia to medical futility. In 2011, module 18 – expert witness, developed by the Judicial and Ethics Committee, was added to educate urologists in providing quality expert witness testimony regarding standard of care.
The current curriculum consists of 18 modules, each of which
- specifies the relevant learning objectives for the module
- frames the ethical challenges relevant to the topic of the module with brief clinical scenarios
- describes the relevant historical, legal and ethical background
- identifies points of agreement and controversy in addressing the ethical challenges relevant to the topic of the module
- presents a case, suitable for self-directed or small group-based activities with questions for discussion, analysis and reflection
- lists additional resources for continued learning
- ends with a posttest
Utilizing the Modules
It is best--although not absolutely necessary--to begin with modules 1 through 7 and to work through each in sequential order before moving on to modules 8 through 18.
- Modules 10 and 11 (on Advance Care Planning and Advance Directives and on Decision Making in the Care of Patients with Serious or Terminal Illness) should be worked through in sequence.
- Module 13 focuses on a salient feature of contemporary practice, i.e., clinical practice in contemporary health care is a collaborative, interdisciplinary endeavor, as is the process of deciding what should be done for the patient.
- Module 14 introduces the learner to an important but often neglected resource for ethical wisdom and experience, the organizational ethics committee.
- Although the curriculum is weighted toward the ethical challenges encountered in clinical practice, module 15 (on Conflicts of Interest) and module 17 (on research ethics) address issues arising at the intersections between the urologist's role as clinician and his or her role as an investigator, administrator, etc.
- Module 18 emphasis is on expert witness testimony as a professional responsibility and the essential qualifications to be a good expert witness as well as give a good expert testimony
In their range and diversity, the modules are intended to convey something of the complexity and the richness of the ethical dimensions of contemporary urology.
Global Learning Objectives
After completing each module, participants should be able to:
- assess their knowledge of clinical ethics in the practice of urology
- demonstrate an increased knowledge base in the ethical practice of urology
- apply increased knowledge to improve quality of patient care
- integrate professionalism in the practice of urology
Residents, practicing urologists, and allied health professionals.
Clinical Ethics for Urologists is designed for the novice in clinical ethics as well as for more experienced physicians. You need not have any previous knowledge of clinical ethics.