Educating Foundation degree students for ethical practice in new, unregistered roles in health and social care: a case study


Wintrup, Julie (2008) Educating Foundation degree students for ethical practice in new, unregistered roles in health and social care: a case study. In, Third International Conference on Teaching Ethics in Higher Education, Kingston-upon-Thames, UK, 04 - 06 Sep 2008. 10pp.

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Description/Abstract

Educating Foundation degree students for ethical practice in new, unregistered roles in health and social care: a case study
This paper describes an approach to ethics education developed as part of a doctoral research project. A framework is in development which is based on an extensive literature review and in-depth interviews with Foundation degree students about to graduate. This proposes a coherent approach to ethics which reflects the work-based nature of the qualification, the non-traditional student profile and the new roles they are entering on graduation. Its main aim is to educate students for increased awareness of, and engagement in, ethical issues in practice by developing their understanding, sensitivity and responsiveness. The evidence from established professions shows disengagement and a ‘task-focused’ approach militates against a person-centred approach to care.
New roles in Health and Social Care.
Foundation degrees are becoming an established qualification for health and social care Support Workers who seek greater responsibility and improved career prospects. The relatively new, more generic ‘Associate Practitioner’ roles challenge established hierarchies and territories of practice as they contribute to the care and treatment plans of several professions and agencies. As yet there is no indication that they are to become registered with a regulatory body, such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council or Health Professions Council. Consequently they have no unifying, over-arching code of ethics or conduct and cannot be ‘struck off’ or barred from practice; they simply have an academic qualification. There are sound reasons for the regulators’ decision, as there is no single professional ‘title’ which has to be protected from misuse or defined scope of practice. Human Resource processes address the employers’ requirements to monitor and appraise behaviour of employees.
Educating for ethical awareness, sensitivity and engagement
Nonetheless, there is very particular responsibility upon educators, as we prepare students through a ‘widening access’ programme, to work with some of the most vulnerable people in society. Not only do we have a duty to the public and to employers to ensure graduates are equipped to provide the highest standard of care, we have an equal duty to the students to enable them to contribute fully to multidisciplinary team working while not actually belonging to one of the professional groups or benefiting from such membership. Many will be progressing from Support Worker posts which normally involve a good deal of direct care but minimal involvement in decision-making. In their new roles, they will be expected to advocate on the part of individuals and groups to professionals and agencies with whom they may not share a common language or objective. Educators need to value the diversity of students’ experiences while preparing them for this new challenge. To this end, this study explored with students their pivotal learning experiences, their relationships and perceived ability to influence events. The resulting framework suggests a philosophically rigorous approach to curriculum development and learning activities that: enable critical examination of personal attitudes and values; integrate practice and theory to raise awareness of every-day ethical issues and challenge assumptions; and develop skill and confidence in reasoning through and explaining ethical perspectives.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Related URLs:
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
Divisions: University Structure - Pre August 2011 > School of Health Sciences
ePrint ID: 64154
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2009
Last Modified: 27 Mar 2014 18:45
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/64154

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