Only about 5% of health professionals performing ethics consultations across the country report having received formal clinical ethics training. Most rely on peers or others who have learned by doing. Many report moral distress due to being ill-equipped and unprepared for situations they face. Most ethics committees – typically comprised of volunteers with little or no ethics background – lack sufficient time or resources to invest in clinical ethics training.
Yet, virtually all health professionals – doctors, nurses, chaplains, social workers, and allied health professionals – face ethical issues in their interactions with patients and families. More than 55 case studies illustrate how diverse and traumatic these issues can be.
Ignoring the need to respond to ethical dilemmas, family crises, moral failure in the duty of care, and inadequate policy heightens risks for institutions and increases likelihood of professional burnout. Patient autonomy, informed consent and shared decision making are fundamental to ensuring patients’ rights. These tenets rely on sound ethical frameworks and professional conduct in delivering safe, responsible and accountable healthcare.
Providing better patient-centered care, especially in critical situations, is hindered by the ethics educational gap. By building a sound ethical framework — in patient autonomy, informed consent, and shared decision making—can health professionals ensure the rights of patients.
A recent study found that when healthcare organizations receive ethics and consultation education, these skills can:
The Center for Practical Bioethics offers ethics education to healthcare professionals through workshops, trainings, symposia, consultations, written and online materials, and even participating or leading institutional ethics committee meetings.
|CPB* Direct Services||CPB Ethics+|
Ethics Committee & Education
Program Support- Advance Care Planning and Medical Decision Making
Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Learning Health Systems
Support for research design and review
|Center Community Services
Consumer Education, Navigation, Crisis Counseling
Grass Roots Advocacy
Public Policy – Responding to officials’ requests for review/guidance
Arts and Humanities
Performing and visual arts
Public Events and Symposia, Public Lectures, Faculty
|A Credentialed Healthcare Ethics Consultant on your team working directly with your clinicians and staff
|Clinical Ethics Consultation
Conduct inpatient consultations in real time
Actively work on policy and ethics integration
Lead training and education
Preform consultation case reviews
Review patient records
Conduct face-to-face meetings
Develop case recommendations
Evaluate case consultations
|Rely on Ethics Advisory Support
Validation and assessment
Gathering essential information
|Participate in Ethics Rounds / Grand Rounds for Clinicians||√|
* CPB: Center for Practical Bioethics
Hot Topic – The Center’s clinical ethics staff focus on an ethical issue impacting providers regionally or within the field while providing guidance. This is a researched deep dive that frames the issue in understandable language from an industry perspective with practical recommendations. Previous issues have addressed a range of concerns, from life-saving interventions following suicide attemptsto public health concerns due to anti-vaccination decisions.
Bioethics in the News – Web links to the most recent and relevant stories in the news pertaining to issues of concern for ethics committee members.
Case Study – Each issue includes a case study that illustrates the topic of the month in a real-life situation.
Ethical Musings – In this section, the author takes a more personal approach to presenting the underlying philosophical insights relevant to the monthly topic. This is presented through a philosophical framework based on arguments to add deeper understanding of the clinical ethics topic.