Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions - CHES80

Ethical Dilemmas and Decisions

by Dale Ames Kline, MS, RD, LD and Megan Dennis Baumler, PhD, RD, CD
(4.4 / 140 ratings )

This course is credentialed for:
Health Education (8.00 CECH)

Price: $109.00
CE-PRO Price: $54.50


When the attending physician recommended discontinuing all life-sustaining measures for his mother, who had been placed on a ventilator after a serious stroke, Mr. O’Connor and his sister agreed. After a sleepless night he called the physician with a change of heart regarding the nutrition support. “She fed everyone in town. I don’t want her to starve to death.” How often do you encounter a situation that has ethical implications? The answer may be fairly often if you’re practicing as an RDN in today’s complicated healthcare environment. How do dietitians know what the ethical choice is in a complicated dilemma? In caring for patients, ethical decisions need to be made daily, and the rules of conduct for making challenging bioethical decisions require a firm understanding of the appropriate process for ethical situations and the professional code of ethics, especially when life collides with death.


The goal of this course is to understand the ethical dilemmas that nutrition professionals may encounter, and to become equipped with the skillset to approach and resolve the dilemma as an educated professional. After studying the information presented here, you will be able to:
  •     Define the legal and medical terminology used in bioethics.
  •     Discuss current ethical issues of health care, especially those related to nutrition.
  •     Explain the history and evolution of bioethics, and the philosophical foundations for current court decisions.
  •     List the organizations which are concerned with ethical standards in health care.
  •     Define the concept of moral or ethical decision-making, and cite examples of moral decisions.
  •     State and discuss the dietitian’s role in resolving ethical dilemmas concerning feeding of critically ill patients, which are likely to arise in day-to-day practice.
  •     Illustrate the role of the ethics committee in an ethical dilemma situation and how the dietitian may provide input in assessing patient nutritional issues.
  •     Explain the current state statutes that define the law concerning withdrawing and withholding of feeding.
  •     Define the concept and execution of advance directives, and cite the states that recognize these devices.
  •     Recommend current literature and resources that offer further reading in the ethical issues of healthcare.
  •     Identify components of the code of ethics for registered dietitians and how these guidelines specifically impact daily tasks of a practitioner. 
  • Analyze ethical dilemmas using moral judgement theory.
  • Examine an ethical dilemma from the patient’s, professional’s, and society’s viewpoint.
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Accreditation Information
This course is intended for multiple professions, including dietitians/nutritionists and health educators.
Health educators: Take this version of the course to ensure you receive appropriate credit.
For the version accredited or approved for another profession, go to your specific profession at or If you have a CE Direct login ID and password (generally provided by your employer), please log in as you normally would at and search for this topic title.
Sponsored by OnCourse Learning, a Relias LLC company, a designated provider of continuing education contact hours (CECH) in health education by the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing, Inc. This program is designated for Certified Health Education Specialists (CHES) and/or Master Certified Health Education Specialists (MCHES) to receive up to 7.0 total Category I continuing education contact hours.
Provider ID: CA0084 (98709) for 01/01/2012 to 12/31/2015, 114941 for 01/01/2016 to 12/31/2019.

Course Originally Released on: 3/4/2011
Date of Most Recent Review: 10/22/2019
Course Termination/Update Date: 10/22/2022

Unless stated above, the planners and authors of this course have declared no relevant conflicts of interest that relate to this educational activity. Relias LLC guarantees this educational activity is free from bias.

Please see CE Course Instructions to learn how to earn CE credit for this module.

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Kristie J - Mesa, AZ  ·  Aug 12, 2019
Excellent course, was very informational.
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Derick O - Los Angeles, CA  ·  Jun 15, 2019
excellent course. very useful and important
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DONNA M - Holtsville, NY  ·  May 17, 2019
course was very informative and greatly increased my knowledge in this subject matter
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William T - Plant City, FL  ·  Apr 30, 2019
excellent review and informational
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Latha Z - Sugarland, TX  ·  Apr 18, 2019
very informative and interesting subject
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Price: $109.00
CE-PRO Price: $54.50