The Role of Communication and Interpersonal Skills in Clinical Ethics Consultation:
The Need for a Competency in Advanced Ethics Facilitation
Wayne Shelton, Cynthia Geppert, and Jane Jankowski
Clinical ethics consultants (CECs) often face some of the most difficult communication and interpersonal challenges that occur in hospitals, involving stressed stakeholders who express, with strong emotions, their preferences and concerns in situations of personal crisis and loss. In this article we will give examples of how much of the important work that ethics consultants perform in addressing clinical ethics conflicts is incompletely conceived and explained in the American Society of Bioethics and Humanities Core Competencies for Healthcare Ethics Consultation and the clinical ethics literature.
The work to which we refer is best conceptualized as a specialized type of interviewing, in which the emotional barriers of patients and their families or surrogates can be identified and addressed in light of relevant ethical obligations and values within the context of ethics facilitation.
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