PP0113 - Week One

Go to the Professional Ethics Course

Go to the Pre-Course Activities

Go to the Course Activities

Go to the Learning Portfolios


Week 1 :: What is this course about? (15-21 Jul.)

We are going to spend a few weeks exploring some ideas around ethics, morality, empathy and integrity, and what it means in the context of healthcare practice. The examples and topics that are presented and discussed may not immediately appear to be relevant for healthcare practitioners but I hope that by the end of the course you will have come to reconsider how you think about your own practice.

We're going to begin by establising some context and setting some personal learning objectives that aim to drive the direction your own learning takes. By the end of the course you're going to look back and see if you've met your objectives. The other thing to take note of is that your objectives may change completely during the course. This is not only acceptable, it is encouraged.

See below for some resources that you can use to stimulate your thinking around your own practice when it comes to walking the fine line between empathy in healthcare (understanding and relating to other people - see video below) and professional distance (maintaining an objective perspective of the patient). In addition, read Davis, M. (1990). What is empathy and can empathy be taught? Physical Therapy, 70:707-711.



Brene Brown: The power of vulnerability

If you would like to save the video above for offline viewing or listening, right click on either of the links below and choose Save Link As from the context menu.

Download the video for offline viewing  |  Download the audio file for offline listening


Questions to guide your thinking on the topic. Note that you don't have to try and answer these questions, they are simply meant to stimulate your thinking:

  1. What are your expectations for this course? What do you hope to gain from it?
  2. What are your own thoughts on empathy? Does it have a role in professional practice? What is that role?
  3. How do you feel about emotional response as a component of professional practice?
  4. Do you believe that professional distance is an appropriate way to create a connection with your patient?


Once you have written your own blog post, you should:

  1. Interact with others by reading and commenting on their work.
  2. Revisit your own work after reading what others have written. There's nothing wrong with updating your thoughts based on what you see others doing.