Category Archives: Medical ethics

End-of-life care: Getting it right every time

RCN launches new end of life care resource

Getting it right every time RCN

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has developed a new resource, Getting it right every time. This resource has been designed to offer support in the delivery of appropriate end of life care alongside existing training. It has been developed in line with the Getting it right every time: nutrition and hydration at the end of life online resource which can be used for more in depth learning around delivery of nutrition and hydration care at the end of life.

Who is it for?

This resource is for you if you are a registered nurse, student nurse, health care assistant (HCA) or assistant practitioner working in any setting or specialism. The aim is to give you an understanding of your role when it comes to meeting the needs of people with life limiting illnesses. You can work through this resource at your own pace either all at once, or by one of the “bite sized” pieces of learning whenever it is convenient for you.

It might also be useful for others in health and social care. Members of the public may also find the content of this resource valuable.

Acknowledgement of sources: The first paragraph is taken from the RCN Quality and Safety eBulletin and the second from Getting it right every time. 


What do you think about assisted dying?

‘Effectively Advancing Equality and Human Rights’
by Pavan Dhaliwal, Director of Public Affairs and Campaigns at the British Humanist Association

“Humanists have always been at the forefront of promoting a rational, secular approach to ethical issues in public policy, and the British Humanist Association (BHA) devotes much of its resources towards campaigning for equality and human rights. Pavan Dhaliwal will outline the BHA’s current campaigns on issues such as assisted dying, religious education, and pastoral care in hospitals, and explain how we can most effectively use our limited resources for maximum effect. One such method currently being explored is the use of ‘strategic litigation’ which can bring about significant changes in the law, legal practice and/or public awareness by taking carefullyselected test cases to court. Pavan heads the BHA’s public affairs team and is responsible for campaigns covering a wide range of issues including public services, equality law, ethical issues, religion and schools, and social cohesion. She is an equalities and human rights expert with a special interest in youth, criminal justice and education policy.”

Wednesday 28th October 7.30pm Green House Hotel, BH1 3AX

The above text originally appeared in the Dorset Humanists newsletter. No religious or a-religious views are being implied – this simply looks like a thought-provoking talk relevant to some of the situations nurses can find themselves in while caring for people at their most vulnerable. 

What is consciousness?

 ‘The Consciousness Conundrum’
by Dr Peter Naish – Open University

“What is consciousness, and how do physical processes in the brain give rise to the subjective life of a conscious mind? Simple animals like the amoeba presumably have no such experience, since they have no brain or nervous system, yet they can react to their surroundings well enough to survive without it. Many of our own cognitive functions such as perceiving objects, making decisions, and even performing apparently voluntary actions can take place without consciousness intervening, but if we can function without conscious awareness, why should consciousness be there at all? Is consciousness just an accidental by-product of having a large brain, or has it been selected for by evolution because creatures with consciousness have improved prospects for survival? Historically, questions about the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness have primarily been a topic for philosophers, but advances in neuroscience are bringing us closer to a scientific understanding. Peter Naish, a senior lecturer in cognitive psychology at The Open University, will be revealing many of the latest developments in our efforts to unravel the mysteries of consciousness.”

Saturday 10th October 2.00pm Moordown Community Centre, Coronation Avenue, BH9 1TW

The above text originally appeared in the Dorset Humanists newsletter. No religious or a-religious views are being implied – this simply looks like a thought-provoking talk relevant to some of the situations nurses can find themselves in while caring for people at their most vulnerable. 

Making Good Medical Choices: Do We Need God?  

A talk by Professor Roger Higgs

“When it comes to those difficult decisions with doctors, about assisted dying, abortion, or what to tell and who decides, does religion have a part to play? Should clinicians give serious consideration to requests for “inappropriate” treatment when those requests are based on religious beliefs? Medical ethics as a respected discipline is 40 years old now, and in this presentation, Roger will be looking at practice and policy, and the aches and the arguments when patients and their doctors get stuck. Roger Higgs was Head of the Department of General Practice studies at Kings College London as well as a practicing GP. He has held a lifelong interest in the moral issues of practising medicine and is an eloquent and thoughtprovoking speaker. He is a leading member of the Institute of Medical Ethics and a founder of the Journal of Medical Ethics.” (The above is taken from the Dorset Humanists’ May 2015 Newsletter).

Changes in healthcare and society are making it increasingly likely that you, as nurses, will be caring for people where complex ethical considerations are at play. This sounds like a fascinating talk by Professor Roger Higgs that may help you consider your role in these matters. It takes place on Wednesday 27th May 7.30pm Green House Hotel, 4 Grove Road Bournemouth BH1 3AX.

Sadly I can’t go but, if you do, maybe you could drop me line to let me know what was discussed? Maybe you could write a piece for publishing on this blog…