Ethical Considerations When Students Experience an Active Eating Disorder during Their Dietetics Training

Published:September 27, 2015DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2015.08.011
      To take the Continuing Professional Education quiz for this article, log in to www.eatrightPRO.org, go to the My Account section of the My Academy Toolbar, click the “Access Quiz” link, click “Journal Article Quiz” on the next page, and then click the “Additional Journal CPE quizzes” button to view a list of available quizzes.
      The examination of eating disorders among dietetics students and nutrition and dietetics practitioners is not new. But whether the topic involves an ethical dilemma is worth exploring. The authors modified a framework used by Fornari
      • Fornari A.
      Approaches to ethical decision-making.
      and O’Sullivan Maillet and colleagues
      • O’Sullivan Maillet J.
      • Baird Schwartz D.
      • Posthauer M.E.
      Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Ethical and legal issues in nutrition, hydration, and feeding.
      to examine the ethical considerations that arise when students experience a spectrum of disordered eating or eating disorders during their academic training to become a nutrition and dietetics practitioner (see Figure).
      FigureProcess for addressing ethical dilemmas in practice. Modified from: O’Sullivan Maillet J, Baird Schwartz D, Posthauer ME, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Ethical and legal issues in nutrition, hydration, and feeding. J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013;113(6):828-833.
      • O’Sullivan Maillet J.
      • Baird Schwartz D.
      • Posthauer M.E.
      Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: Ethical and legal issues in nutrition, hydration, and feeding.
      • 1.
        Determine whether the situation represents a potential ethical dilemma or communication problem, relationship issue, or a legal matter.
      • 2.
        Recreate the context by collecting relevant data and considering relevant facts and values.
      • 3.
        Name stakeholders and their relationships.
      • 4.
        Identify ways of ethical thinking used by stakeholders.
        • a.
          Rules thinking—doing what is right by following the rules
        • b.
          Roles thinking—being true to self and your sense of virtue
        • c.
          Goals thinking—producing good outcomes regardless of rules
      • 5.
        Determine practical limits to the situation: policies, laws, standards, and codes.
      • 6.
        Restate the ethical problem.
      • 7.
        Search for possible options.
      • 8.
        Test various options.
        • a.
          Rules—Is it right?
        • b.
          Roles—Can I feel good about this?
        • c.
          Goals—What good will it do?
      • 9.
        Justify the option selected.
        • a.
          Keep the client’s best interest at the center of options.
        • b.
          Provide a description of what will likely happen and provide a clear action.
        • c.
          Plan for each option recommended—suggestions of practical pathways.
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      References

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        Approaches to ethical decision-making.
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        • O’Sullivan Maillet J.
        • Baird Schwartz D.
        • Posthauer M.E.
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        J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013; 113: 828-833
        • Strike K.
        The ethics of teaching.
        The Phi Delta Kappan. 1998; 70: 156-158
      1. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. About us. http://www.eatrightpro.org/resources/about-us. Accessed February 16, 2015.

      2. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Code of Ethics Video Series: Ethical Dilemmas in Dietetics Practice. http://www.eatrightpro.org/resource/career/code-of-ethics/ethics-education-resources/ethics-video-1-job-search. Accessed February 16, 2015.

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