Bringing Theory to Practice
Dominican University of California
Program Research or Initiative Grant: Engaging Ethics: Integrating Clinical Praxis and Moral Theory via Service-Learning and Reflection
"Our study compared traditional and Service-Learning (SL) versions of an Ethics in Healthcare course required for students pursuing healthcare majors. We wanted to know if using SL pedagogy would increase (a) students’ sense of meaning and purpose and (b) their ability to integrate ethical concepts in both academic and professional situations. While the quantitative data from our exit survey were inconclusive, qualitative data indicated that combining Ethics in Healthcare with praxis was effective. We analyzed students’ final essays for thinking style in addition to our original research questions (a & b, above). Most students’ essays touched on ethics in community and public policy, but those with SL employed higher levels of thinking to do so. They showed engagement at the highest levels of thinking on Bloom’s taxonomy: creative adaptive thinking, synthesis, and evaluation. These same students had actively embraced the concepts by applying them in their SL experience. They are more likely, then, to retain and apply these concepts in their personal and professional experiences."