“Systematizing” Ethics Consultation Services

Courtenay Bruce, Margot M. Eves, Nathan G. Allen, Martin L. Smith, Adam M. Peña, John R. Cheney, Mary A. Majumder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


While valuable work has been done addressing clinical ethics within established healthcare systems, we anticipate that the projected growth in acquisitions of community hospitals and facilities by large tertiary hospitals will impact the field of clinical ethics and the day-to-day responsibilities of clinical ethicists in ways that have yet to be explored. Toward the goal of providing clinical ethicists guidance on a range of issues that they may encounter in the systematization process, we discuss key considerations and potential challenges in implementing system-wide ethics consultation services. Specifically, we identify four models for organizing, developing, and enhancing ethics consultation activities within a system created through acquisitions: (1) train-the-trainer, (2) local capacity-building, (3) circuit-riding, and (4) consolidated accountability. We note each model’s benefits and challenges. To our knowledge, this is the first paper to consider the broader landscape of issues affected by consolidation. We anticipate that clinical ethicists, volunteer consultants, and hospital administrators will benefit from our recommendations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalHEC Forum
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 2014


  • Bioethics
  • Clinical ethics consultation
  • Organizational ethics
  • Systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Issues, ethics and legal aspects
  • Health(social science)
  • Health Policy


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