This article questions our basic assumptions and approaches to ethics education in the health professions. Across the health professions, there is increased need for health professionals to carry out their moral duties in individual patient care, as well as collaborate, as part of an interprofessional team that is grounded in a sense of purpose to the common good in health care. We believe that to be ethically engaged is to be committed to ethically care for patients mindful of their needs, values and goals, attuned to their illness experiences, and emotionally open to their suffering. Students need to be skilled in ethical reasoning and decision-making as a core element of professional competence. In this article we use a model of pedagogical reasoning and action to uncover the critical teaching and learning issues that are part of facilitating students' development of habits of mind and ethical competence. We further argue that the tools phenomenology, narrative thinking and the development of meta-cognitive skills are fundamental parts of the pedagogical content knowledge that is essential in teaching and learning in ethics.