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Unit of study_

CRIT5008: Evidence and Ethics in Critical Care

Semester 2, 2022 [Online] - Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney

This capstone unit for the Master of Medicine (Critical Care) and Master of Science in Medicine (Critical Care) degree aims to develop students' ethical, reflective, critical thinking and evidence-based decision-making skills, required to inform best clinical practice. The unit is structured in two parts: an introduction to key ethical concepts and methods of ethical analysis; and an overview of evidence relevant to health care practice and research. Students initially apply ethical principles to examine a series of case studies. Students then critically appraise the evidence base for a clinical case study related to their area of practice. This will involve development of a clinical question, a literature search and review of selected studies, and application of critical appraisal skills to appraise a primary and secondary study in detail. Learning modules include further development of literature search and critical appraisal skills, applying decision analysis to facilitate shared decision-making in practice, and application of evidence to inform individual patient care.

Unit details and rules

Unit code CRIT5008
Academic unit Critical Care
Credit points 6
Assumed knowledge


Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Megan Cox,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Online task Ethics online tasks
Online task
10% Multiple weeks 300-400 words each
Outcomes assessed: LO1 LO2
Online task Evidence based medicine online tasks
Online task
70% Multiple weeks 300-1000 words each
Outcomes assessed: LO4 LO6 LO5
Assignment Ethics essay
20% Week 07
Due date: 18 Sep 2022 at 23:59
1000 words
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO3
Assignment Evidence: major written assessment
Weighting included as part of the 70% EBM weighting.
0% Week 12
Due date: 30 Oct 2022 at 23:59
1500 words
Outcomes assessed: LO7 LO8

Assessment summary

  • Ethics online tasks: Short ethics task in response to a question posed in the relevant week’s content module. These on-line tasks are not ‘marked’ but students will receive a participation mark for their satisfactory and timely completion.
  • Ethics essay: Topic to be provided closer to the date.
  • Evidence based medicine online tasks: Sequential and related tasks on evidence-based medicine project. Students will select a clinical scenario, construct a focused clinical question, list information sources they intend to search, provide the intended search strategy, list selected articles, and critically appraise 2 selected articles.
  • Evidence: major written assessment: Students will incorporate work from previous online tasks to appraise the evidence on a selected clinical scenario. Work will be assessed according to its application of evidence, identification of biases in literature, and provision of a final decision.
  • Evidence: Discussion Board: Students will post their final clinical decision to address the clinical scenario to a discussion board. They are then required to peer review at least one other student’s post and reply. 

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

The University awards common result grades, set out in the Coursework Policy 2014 (Schedule 1).

As a general guide, a high distinction indicates work of an exceptional standard, a distinction a very high standard, a credit a good standard, and a pass an acceptable standard.

Result name

Mark range


High distinction

85 - 100



75 - 84



65 - 74



50 - 64



0 - 49

When you don’t meet the learning outcomes of the unit to a satisfactory standard.

For more information see

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Module 1: ethics Online class (10 hr)  
Week 02 Module 1: ethics Online class (10 hr)  
Week 03 Module 1: ethics Online class (10 hr)  
Week 04 Module 1: ethics Online class (10 hr)  
Week 05 Module 2: evidence Online class (10 hr)  
Week 06 Module 2: evidence Online class (10 hr)  
Week 07 Module 2: evidence Online class (10 hr)  
Week 08 Module 2: evidence Online class (10 hr)  
Week 09 Module 2: evidence Online class (10 hr)  
Week 10 Module 2: evidence Online class (10 hr)  
Week 11 Module 2: evidence Online class (10 hr)  
Week 12 Module 2: evidence Online class (10 hr)  
Week 13 Module 2: evidence Online class (10 hr)  

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Explain and compare the features of predominant ethical theories relevant to evidence based health care practice and research
  • LO2. Describe and critically evaluate ethical principles and concepts such as autonomy, capacity, vulnerability, best interests and consent and their role in health care practice and research
  • LO3. Apply these ethical concepts to relevant contemporary issues or challenges in health care practice and research
  • LO4. Formulate a clinical question so that it fits into one of the four main areas (diagnosis, prognosis, intervention, harm) and can be answered by finding and using the best evidence
  • LO5. Select sources of EBM material appropriate for a given question
  • LO6. Retrieve appropriate evidence through optimal querying of selected sources
  • LO7. Critically appraise retrieved evidence for validity, importance and applicability including how the limitations of retrieved evidence modifies its applicability to patient care
  • LO8. Apply the factors involved in clinical decision making as they relate to an individual patient.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

We value your feedback about any aspect of the unit of study and your experience as a student of Sydney Medical School. To help ensure our courses meet your needs and maintain a high standard, we welcome your feedback at any time and we ask you to complete the Mid-Semester Evaluation Survey and the unit of study Evaluation Survey at the end of the semester. You can also rate any component of the unit using our star rating system found at the bottom of many pages as you progress through the unit. Your ratings and comments are anonymous and specifying what you liked and didn’t like about any of the learning materials, assessment items, discussion forums, feedback etc will help us to target our improvement efforts. Please note that your participation in this unit of study permits de-identified information about your learning experience and interaction with learning resources to be used for the purpose of improving the student learning experience.


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