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Online Master's Degree in Health Administration: Health Care Ethics Concentration

Expertise in the highly-specialized field of health care ethics is emerging as one of the most critical needs facing the health industry today. Health administrators are expected to assist in navigating through issues such as euthanasia, the use of medical technologies to prolong life, abortion, genetic screening for birth defects, experimentation and informed consent, distribution of scarce medical resources and the right to health care and its implications for the health care delivery system. Saint Joseph's University’s online Master's Degree in Health Administration with a Concentration in Health Care Ethics provides the necessary framework for dealing with these issues. The program also offers a background in moral philosophy, which will be included within the scope of the coursework.

What Is Health Care Ethics?

Health care ethics – also referred to as medical ethics or bioethics – is a set of moral principles, beliefs, and values that guide us in making choices about medical care.

At the core of health care ethics is our sense of right and wrong and our beliefs about rights we possess and duties health care professionals owe others in order to really make a difference.

According to findings published by the Veterans' Administration's National Center for Ethics in Health Care, ethical questions and concerns are inextricably linked to delivering quality health care. Ethical approaches to situations and issues permeate an organization's entire structure on three levels: decisions and actions, systems and processes, and environment and culture—which, taken together, define the ethics quality of a health care organization. To add to these three levels in which ethical approaches to situations and issues permeate are four core principles of health care ethics. These define the ethical duties that health care professionals in the United States owe to patients (thus helping to answer the question, “What is ethical health care?”. They are:

  • Autonomy: to honor the patient’s right to make their own decision.
  • Beneficence: to help the patient advance his/her own good.
  • Nonmaleficence: to do no harm.
  • Justice: to be fair and treat like cases alike.

"When ethical concerns aren't resolved, the result can be errors or unnecessary and potentially costly decisions that can be bad for patients, staff, the organization, and society at large."

"A healthy ethical environment and culture doesn't just improve employee morale; it also helps to enhance productivity and improve efficiency…Failure to maintain an effective ethics program can seriously jeopardize an organization's reputation, its bottom line, and even its survival."

In a values-based environment, it is not enough to meet minimal legal standards. Administrators are required to make well-considered judgments that translate organizational values into action. Given the recent history of medical/ethical cases that have occurred in hospitals and doctor's offices, the need for health professionals specializing in this area is significant and will only continue to increase.

Learn more about the online Master's in Health Administration – Health Care Ethics curriculum

For more information about how we can help you advance your career in health administration and health care ethics, call us at (866) 758-7670 to speak with an admissions representative or request more information.

Effective Leadership. Effective Organization. Affective Care.