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The course work has immensely improved my reading, writing, and thinking skills. Prior to reading the course materials, there were established beliefs on certain issues and interest in me. For example, the issue of racism and health care was a matter that had always caught my attention, because of my Hispanic heritage. Racism was a topic of concern and interest, but I was never a victim of any form of racism. Therefore, from the beginning, I was not in a position to fathom the ordeal and experiences minorities go through because of racism. It is through reading, writing and analytical thinking of articles that I appreciated this social dynamic. It has always been difficult for me to explain and imagine that I could be a victim of racism.
After this course, I am able to use my reading skills that have improved and increased my reading speed and comprehension. For example, each time I come across an article I immediately try to understand the reason for reading it. I ask myself if my reading is for a purpose or it is for leisure, and the things I hope to learn after reading. Having formed this foundation, I then try to comprehend the usefulness of the source of the article. This is to establish if the source is credible to the topic. An example of the application of these reading skills, is my ability to use the preface, prologue, introduction, and chapter headings in a book, to understand the intention of the book, structure, and the coverage.
Moreover, the reading skill has increased my speed of reading. I can skim material and still give a clear picture of the content, from the summaries, introductions and chapter headings. I am able to pick out and understand important concepts and ideas in an article, from texts, graphs and diagrams. The only time I fully read articles is when I think their subject is worthy studying in detail. An example of this skill is in my ability to read various articles on "Racism and Ethics in Healthcare" and the selection of six articles relevant to the topic. By skimming through the titles and the introductory paragraph of the articles, I was able to select articles that gave me an insight into the current U.S. healthcare system and racist issue. I was able to take notes, highlight key points as I developed mind maps on the information I read. This reading skill has improved my ability to emphasize and preserve information, while keeping my mind on the reading material. The other skill gained from the course is ability to understand the layout of different readings, while extracting information. I learnt how to skim and get information from books, magazines, and newspaper articles, trade, scholarly journals, and reports. This is because each piece of writing has a different layout and writing style.
It is worthy to note that, improved reading skills translate to better writing and thinking skills. My writing skills have improved, since I can now identify concepts from titles, introductions, prefaces, and summaries. In addition, the reading skills assist in the identification of key information from the articles. My writing skills have improved such that I can identify and list key items required for a discussion. I am also in a position to order the information according to level of importance, from which I write the introduction as a brief summary. The next step is the expansion of each point into paragraphs that create the body of the document.
An example of this improvement is in the assignment on "Racism and Ethics in Healthcare." This first time I wrote the assignment, I did it from my point-of-view and incorporated my personal experience. The draft had several grammar and sentence structure mistakes. However, I did indicate that I read several articles on the topic, but did not mention the key points detailed in these articles. I was able to identify the main topic sentence of my essay as, "there was a link between social class and race." Having reviewed the essay, I embarked on improving my writing skills in the second essay. This is because, I was able to use data in the reading articles to create a background to the problem of the topic "Racism and Ethics in Healthcare." For example, I identified that, "an important portion of the population who abuse the system. There are still as many as 50,000 people who die prematurely every year from medical conditions and diseases that could have been prevented, cured, or managed successfully by appropriate medical intervention" (Racism and Ethics in Healthcare). The second essay was a success for I was able to identify the main points in the articles, order, and group them according to topic, I then wrote an essay by expanding the points identified into ordered paragraphs with topic sentences. I also learnt that writing long essays does not necessarily convey the message. I therefore, learnt how to convey my thoughts in essays of not more than three pages.
My thinking skills also improved with the course, as I am able to rely on rationality, where I use reason over emotion in interpreting text. This implies that when trying to understand an article I reason rather than follow my opinions or emotions. For example, in the second assignment on "Racism and Ethics in Healthcare," I was able to use reasoning to analyze information from articles, rather than my emotions on racism. Rationality has increased as I rely more on evidence and follow arguments as they lead me. For example, in the assignment on "Organ Donor Compensation," I used evidence from the study to show that 92% of relatives of those who died felt that monetary compensation for donating organs would not make a difference in their decision-making. I did not assume that, loved ones would not accept money for compensation of organs donated from their relatives. I did not use the emotional-reasoning of a relative to make a conclusion on an issue in the article, but rather relied on information from articles I read. This strategy has allowed me to write essays that are more about finding the best explanation rather than analyzing a topic and asking questions. This is in the essay "Organ Donor Compensation," which follows facts rather than trying to be right on a particular thesis of the topic.
Thinking skills allow a person to be self-aware. My self-awareness increased following the fulfillment of the tasks of the course, since I was able to weigh the influences of bias and motives from my own point-of-view of issues. Self-awareness implies that I was able to recognize my prejudice, assumptions, and biases on issues. I was able to identify my assumptions and prejudice towards racism. I realized that the fact that I was never a victim of racism does not imply that racism does not exist. I learnt that racism is in correlation to social class, where the privileged can access amenities offered in the healthcare system. I had made the assumptions that there was an issue of social class in the healthcare sector, where upper class communities have better health centers as compared to poor communities.
An important dynamic of thinking skills is achieving open-mindedness. This I achieved by being able to make reasonable evaluations on inferences. I was able to gain the ability to look at issues from different points-of-view. This is very evident in my ability to write the assignments on "Organ Donor Compensation," "Racism and Ethics in Healthcare," "Human Cloning," and the "Legalizing Euthanasia." I was able to write the essays and make arguments from the points-of-view of those who are for and against the topics, following evidence presented in credible sources. An indication of this is in the essays as I have left room for alternative interpretations. Moreover, I have made room for new paradigm to explain the evidence from articles and I have not rejected any unpopular points-of-view.
Reading articles on bioethics increased my comprehension skills and increased my knowledge on many issues. An aspect of knowledge acquisition is the adoption of direction of thought, reason for reading, and goal of achievement. This is evident in the readings of the Bioethics course. I set out to find ethical dilemmas in the course, beginning with the class text by Parks and Wake (2012). One ethical dilemma is in the fulfillment of Hippocratic Oath, which requires healthcare professionals to keep in confidence any information they see or hear from patients. However, this oath creates a dilemma for professionals especially where there is a link to third party involvement. Reading through various articles, revealed that moral ethics in many instances directed the course of actions taken by professionals. Therefore, for a healthcare professional, the ethical principle and ethical obligation of preservation of life superseded the preservation of privacy. Therefore, in the case of Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California the healthcare professional has an obligation to warn authorities in the event…[continue]
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