The Clinician as Clinical Ethics Consultant: An Empirical Method of Study

 

Donald S. Kornfeld and Kenneth Prager, The Journal of Clinical Ethics 30, no. 2 (Summer 2019): 96-108.

 

Some 30 years ago the role of the clinical ethics consultant (CEC) was formalized. At the time, the perception of the role differed between two groups serving in that capacity, clinicians and nonclinicians. Differences in their roles reflected their training and experience.

     These divergent views were resolved semantically by designating the role of the CEC as “ethics facilitation.” In practice the different perspectives have remained. However, the subsequent published literature on clinical ethics consultation has not adequately reflected the activity of the clinician as a CEC.

     There have been recurring unanswered calls for the acquisition of empirical data on the nature of the problems that prompt ethics consultation requests and the functions required to address them. The authors introduce a template that provides a means to acquire such data for clinician ethicists. A similar instrument could be constructed to reflect the role of the nonclinician ethicist serving in that capacity.

 

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