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In rendering patient care, nurses and other health care providers regularly encounter ethical conflict. Being prepared to address this conflict is necessary, and a resource to do so is the ethics consultation. Patients, family members, and health care providers meet with an institutional representative with knowledge of bioethics principles to analyze the ethical conflict. Effort is made to form and agree to recommendations that mitigate the conflict and allow for optimal care. We offered an interprofessional conference to provide knowledge about ethics consultations to nursing students, nurses, and other health care providers. Experts from bioethics, nursing, and health policy presented on the principles embedded in professional ethics codes, the ethics consultation process, and the Neiswanger Institute's Advanced Clinical Ethics Skills (ACES) tool, developed to assess efficacy in conducting ethics consultations. Conference attendees were provided with a case study of a patient whose family desired aggressive care that practitioners considered futile. Attendees were then given the opportunity to participate in the role of bioethics consultant in an ethics consultation simulation based on that case study and using the ACES tool. Knowledge and skills acquired by students at the conference will aid them in procuring an ethics consult and actively participating in consults that focus on the ethical dilemmas in their patients' care.

 

By Mary Donnelly, JD, RN, Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing, Loyola University of Chicago, Chicago, IL (mailto:mdonnelly@luc.edu).