This “Guidance for Final Essay” is essential reading (and re-reading) for participants
in the writing of their final essays.
A. General Guidelines (page 1)
B. Required Elements and Recommended Outline (pages 2-3)
C. Summary of Ethical Methods (page 4)
D. Three Methods for Ethical Analysis (page 5)
B.Required Elements and Recommended Outline
Please follow the order and structure of the five-section outline described below. The
outline includes all the required elements in an order that has a logical flow.
Check your draft of each section before moving on to the next section. This discipline will
help you to produce an essay that both you and your readers will find complete, concise,
and coherent. Feel free to use the section numbers to signal your progress from one
section to the next.
State the specific misconduct with which you were charged.
This is not a confession. It is a summary of what your referring entity said. If you
wish to say that the findings fit your actual behavior fairly, you may. But this is
just a summary of what was alleged. If there are several charges, you must
include each one.
State what you think the role of the referring organization (e.g., licensing board, college,
or other) is and why such entities are necessary or valuable.
You might want to mention the kinds of power involved in healthcare roles or
comment on the source of the referring entity’s duties. As noted on page 1,
illustrate your discussion by referring to readings, films, presentations, etc.
State why a referring entity should care about each of the charges listed in Section 1. Provide a
deep and probing ethical analysis of each concern using the ethical frameworks taught during the Program. *
This is the heart of your essay. It should comprise at least half of the length of
the essay and consume most of your time and effort. Without a strong Section 3,
your essay will not provide enough evidence that you have learned to think
ethically about the reason(s) why you were referred to the Program.
In this section, you are to thoroughly analyze each of your referring entity’s
concerns from the perspective of the referring entity, acting within its role,
using the ethical frameworks taught during the Program (virtue
ethics, consequence-based ethics, and principle-based ethics) to create a thorough
analysis. The ethical methods are described in detail on page 4 below (C.
Summary of Ethical Methods). While you must use at least one method, we
encourage you to use more than one method to ensure an adequately
comprehensive analysis of each concern.
Please avoid asserting your own perspective in this part of the essay (you can do
that in Section 4). Here we want you to examine your situation and actions (or
alleged actions) from the perspective of the person or organization that sent you
to the program. In addition, you could also examine your situation from the
perspective of the other stakeholders who may have been involved or affected
(e.g., patients, family, co-workers, students, etc.).
To be worthy of the term “analysis,” your Section 3 should be careful, clear, thorough, and
deeply probing. Mere mention of an idea is not analysis. Simply citing key concepts or
including ethical terms is not analysis. Rather, show us how you have learned to use such
concepts and terms to dig below surface details of the allegations. Be specific about how
this concept applies to what you did or are accused of doing. The goal of this analysis
is to clarify the concerns behind the allegations and then to uncover the ethical basis of
those concerns. Again, where appropriate, illustrate your discussion by referring to
readings, films, presentations, etc. from the Program.
*An important note to participants who still disagree with their referring entity’s
findings or actions: (The disagreement may be about facts or about the actions taken in
response to the findings of fact, or both.) You can write an honest and fully acceptable
Section 3 analysis despite such disagreement(s). Simply follow the directions for Section
3, remembering to keep your focus on the referring entity’s perspective as it acts within its
role. What you think or feel has no place in Section 3. It is all about what was charged and
the ethical basis for the concern(s) of your oversight entity about a licensed healthcare
professional who behaved in the alleged way. You may describe your points of
disagreement, if they are still present, in Section 4.
Characterize your case from your own point of view.
In this section, you can share your perspective. Please remember that this should be a
minor section of the essay; section 3 is the heart of the essay and where most time and
effort (and words) should be devoted.
• If you still disagree with your referring entity’s findings or actions, you may choose to
describe that in this section.
• Describe any evolution in your thinking about your situation. For example, if at first you
had one kind of response to the allegations or accusations (e.g., you might have rejected
the significance of the complaint, or you might have provided excuses), but then later
developed a different perspective, explain that here.
• Show us any insight(s) you have developed as a result of your experience of being held
to account. For example, you could reflect on events or factors in your life that might
have made you vulnerable to going off track, or you might make observations about
patterns in your behavior.
Final reflections on the experience of being held to account
Here we ask you to reflect on the meaning of this experience for you. You might specify
safeguards or changes you have made (or plan to make) that will help you avoid getting
into this sort of situation again, or traits you hope to work on to improve self- mastery.
These changes or plans may involve your professional life, your personal life, or both.
Thinking back to assignment #1 (the letter of advice or recommendation), you might also
want to relate what you wrote in that letter to your own experience of being held to
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