The Journal of Clinical Ethics




Ethics Pocket Cards: An Educational Tool for Busy Clinicians

Rebecca L. Volpe, Benjamin H. Levi, George F. Blackall, and Michael J. Green

The Journal of Clinical Ethics 25, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 148-51.



        The adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is widely used in healthcare settings and can be applied to the work of institutional clinical ethics committees. The model of clinical ethics consultation, however, is inherently reactive: a crisis or question emerges, and ethics experts are called to help. In an effort to employ a proactive component to the model of clinical ethics consultation (as well as to standardize our educational interventions), we developed ethics pocket cards. The purpose of this article is to: (1) describe the rationale for using ethics pocket cards, (2) provide examples of our cards, and (3) begin a dialogue about the potential uses of ethics pocket cards. In doing so, we hope to explore how such portable, economical devices can advance the goals of ethics consultation as well as the educational aims of ethics committees.

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