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Healthcare Professionalism, Ethics, and Empathy

Healthcare Professionalism, Ethics, and Empathy

Healthcare Professionalism, Ethics, and Empathy

Medical Education Institute
Medical Education Institute
on behalf of Medical Education Institute

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Launch date: 13 Aug 2019
Expiry Date: 01 Oct 2020

Last updated: 20 Aug 2019

Reference: 194745

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Webster’s dictionary defines a professional as “characterized by or conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession; exhibiting a courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner in the workplace.”
Your role as a healthcare worker certainly means that you have to meet technical and ethical standards. And this work needs to be done in a “courteous, conscientious, and generally businesslike manner!”
In healthcare, there are many types of patient/provider relationships and boundaries. When we inappropriately cross these boundaries into areas of a patient’s life that are not related to dialysis care, we can run into problems.
In the first part of this course, you will learn the 5 key aspects of being a healthcare professional and then look at understanding boundaries - the roles and responsibilities to make sure you are maintaining proper boundaries with your patients.

“Patient-centered care” is high-quality care that meets patients’ needs. For care to meet patients’ needs, patients must be able to choose what they want. This means shared decision-making by patients and the care team. To make choices, patients need to understand their disease and its treatment. This means that it is not enough to just give care. A huge part of our job as healthcare professionals is to help patients learn how to be active partners in their care.

What is it like to be on dialysis? Have you ever really stopped to think about the challenges a person with kidney disease faces each day? Think about what your life would be like if out of nowhere you had to be in the dialysis center 3 days a week for 5–6 hours—once you factor in treatment time, wait time, and travel time. Then when you count in the common problem of fatigue after treatment, you can start to see the extreme impact standard dialysis has just on a person’s time.
Consider this…
3 treatments a week X 6 hours (treatment time, wait time, travel time, etc.) X 52 weeks = 936 hours a year. Now, let’s take it one step further. 936 hours/40 hours = 23 full-time work weeks! Can you imagine giving up nearly 23 weeks a year of your full-time work?!
When you look at dialysis from the patient’s point of view, you can begin to see how challenging it can be! The final portion of this presentation will help you get a better understanding of life as a dialysis patient and offer suggestions for how to develop interpersonal communication skills that will help you be the kind of dialysis professional you would want if you were sitting in the chair.


List and define the 5 key aspects of being a healthcare professional:
• Competence
• Integrity
• Critical Thinking
• Patient Advocacy
• Behavior
Discuss why boundaries in healthcare are important and name three important functions they provide:
• Patient protection
• Staff protection
• Clear definition of the professional relationship
Define and understand "Patient-Centered Care"
High quality care that meets the patients’ needs. Patients choose what they want, shared decision-making, and help from professionals to provide knowledge of how to be active in their care.
List/describe three concepts of providing patient-centered care
1. The patient as a person. See your patient as a person with a whole life outside of dialysis.
2. Collaboration. Learn patients’ goals and how those mesh with their treatment plans.
3. Building relationships. Build a working relationship with patients.
Discuss and list three communication skills that will help you work with your patients.
1. Attentive listening – give the patient your full attention.
2. Open-ended questions- requires the person you are speaking with to answer something other than yes or no. Helps get more information from your patient.
3. Clear language- use words, terms and descriptions that patients will understand. Take time to explain exactly what you are talking about.
List and describe 3 key skills that are needed to understand and embrace the challenges your patients face.
1. Having empathy – the capacity to share and understand another’s state of mind or emotion.
2. Building trust - takes time and effort. Is at the root of good patient/provider relationships.
3. Clear communication- skills include: attentive listening, open-ended questions, and clear language.
Identify at least 3 of the symptoms a patent with depression may feel.
• Depressed mood
• Loss of interest or pleasure in thing previously enjoyed.
• Major weight loss or change in appetite.
• Trouble sleeping – or sleeping too much.
• Strangely slow movements – or agitation
• Feeling worthless or guilty for no real reason
• Less ability to think or focus, or difficulty making decisions
• Thought of death, suicide, or making a plan to commit suicide
Medical Education Institute

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Medical Education Institute
on behalf of Medical Education Institute

Medical Education Institute, Inc.

Current Accreditations

This course has been certified by or provided by the following Certified Organization/s:

  • California Board of Registered Nursing (CBRN)
  • 1.00 Hours

Faculty and Disclosures

Additional Contributors

Tamyra Warmack, RN
Darlene Rodgers, BSN, RN, CNN, CPHQ

Conflicts Declared

Conflicts of Interest declaration by Author:


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