The role of medical humanities, ethical coaching and global bioethics in addressing the ethical vulnerability of health care practitioners

Laetus Lategan


This paper outlines the many ethical challenges faced today by health
care practitioners. These challenges are not limited to the conventional bioethical challenges
of life and death, informed consent, palliative care or research on human subjects only. The
literature review suggests that complex matters such as a weakening health care system, health
care research supported by the medical industry, socio-economic and socio-political
circumstances, communication, and the globalization of bioethics contribute to the already
numerous ethical challenges that presently intensify the ethical vulnerability of health care
practitioners. Given this context, the aim of this paper is to unpack what the ethical
challenges as experienced by health care practitioners entail and how health care practitioners
can be supported to deal with these challenges. Aspects such as the medical humanities, ethical
coaching and an integrated bioethical model to support health care practitioners are discussed.
Ultimately, the discourse is based on the values of Christian ethics.


Health care practitioners; Ethical coaching; Medical humanities; Bioethics; Christian ethics

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

ISSN 2226-2385 (online); ISSN 0028-2006 (print)

© 2014 Pieter de Waal Neethling Trust, Stellenbosch.

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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