Ethics Objectives and Introduction

Learning Objectives:

Upon completion of this course, the course participant will be able to:


    The twenty-first century brought the scope of ethics to a whole new level of public scrutiny. The very public demise of wealthy businessmen such as Kenneth Lay and Jeffrey Schilling with Enron’s final chapter of federal fraud; Tyco’s Dennis Koszlowksi and WorldCom’s Bernie Ebbers and even the health care debacle of Richard Scrushy with HealthSouth has added a need for all professional organizations and groups to remind their members that there are ethical and moral principles that all should strive toward. Rehabilitation, a field recognized within the health care arena, is one such professional group that constantly strives to educate its clinicians in ethics.

    This course will provide a foundation for clinicians to understand and discuss ethics and ethical decision-making. This course will discuss morally responsible behaviors and the application of ethical decision-making. Based on formative documentation from the American Physical Therapy Association, this course is appropriate for all rehabilitation professionals including physical therapists, physical therapist assistants, occupational therapists, certified occupational therapy assistants, speech language pathologists, athletic trainers, kinesiotherapists, music therapists, etc.

    This course is divided into four main sections. The first section investigates the historical underpinnings of ethics. This section presents the various overarching theories that created the basis for current ethical philosophies. The second main section delves into ethics in the health care arena. The principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence, autonomy, and justice are explored in the second section. The third main section specifically addresses ethics and a Code of ethics that is currently practiced by physical therapy – as an application model to consider for all rehabilitation professionals. The final section briefly examines ethics within the research realm.

    To assist with learning and to provide a well-rounded resource, two Appendices are attached to this course. Appendix A presents the American Physical Therapy Association’s Guide for Professional Ethics. Appendix B is the American Physical Therapy Associations Professional Ethics Overview.

      Next: Chapter 1