Clinical ethicists have played an expanded rule during the pandemic, supporting hospital operations across the country. A new study from Penn Nursing reports how clinical ethicists provided consultation and guidance in situations of uncertainty, distress, or disagreement, often with imperfect information.
“Although the clinical ethicists’ role has been studied under usual circumstances, very little is understood about their experience during the pandemic, the ethical challenges they faced, and how they addressed their own ethical challenges or received support,” says the study’s lead investigator, Connie M. Ulrich, Lillian S. Brunner Chair in Medical and Surgical Nursing, Professor of Nursing and Professor of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at Penn Nursing.
The results of the study, titled “Ethical Challenges Experienced by Clinical Ethicists During COVID-19,” are published in the journal AJOB Empirical Bioethics.
Five major themes were identified in the study’s conclusion: ethical issues that were increasingly more complex, moral distress that was “endemic,” shifting ethical paradigms from the focus on the individual to the population, fostering a supportive environment, and organizational ethics, i.e. variation in the value, roles, and policy input of clinical ethicists.
Read more at Penn Nursing News.