Clinical ethics and COVID-19

2021Clinical ethics and COVID-19Free

Event Details

What should I do when PPE is limited?How should I prioritise my family’s well-being and doing my job?How do I work with resource scarcity?

The COVID-19 pandemic has created new clinical ethics challenges for clinicians. Public health considerations are shaping individual patient care. Situations of resource scarcity have brought fair allocation into the foreground of clinical practice. Clinicians’ personal risk of infection has generated difficult ethical challenges.This online course aims to provide structured ways of navigating the clinical ethics challenges generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. It incorporates short discussions of key ethical issues and concepts, with practical ethics tools for decision-making.


Clinical ethics and COVID-19 is designed for clinicians in hospital settings and primary care.  It is intended for medical, nursing and allied health staff.  It would also be useful for students training for these health professions.


  1. Clinical ethics principles
  2. What’s different in a pandemic?
  3. Steps of ethical decision-making
  4. Balancing and moral regret
  5. Health resources in a pandemic
  6. Ethical criteria for resource allocation
  7. Fair process
  8. Duty to provide care
  9. Protecting health professionals
  10. Balancing health professionals’ safety with the duty to provide care


  • Tutorial 1: Clinical ethics – what’s different in a pandemic?
  • Tutorial 2: Allocation of scarce resources
  • Tutorial 3: Health professionals’ role

List of particular knowledge or skills obtained through course

  • Use the steps of ethical decision-making to structure a challenging decision
  • Understand the nature of moral regret and moral distress, and productive responses to these experiences
  • Know the three key ethical considerations for resource allocation in a pandemic
  • Articulate the elements of a fair process when allocating resources and prioritising patients in a pandemic
  • Use a framework of questions to guide decision-making about ethically acceptable levels of protection for health professionals


There is no assessment requirement for this course, however each tutorial has embedded self-assessments and end of tutorial case study.

A Certificate of Completion is provided upon satisfactory completion of the course.


Course completion requires approximately ~3 hours of elearning.

Students have the flexibility to study in their own time and location. Program materials can be accessed through the eLearning Education app on mobiles and tablets with iOS, Android or Windows systems. Program materials can also be accessed using a web browser.


Year Around Event (2021)




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