The Center for Translational Bioethics and Health Care Policy is the outgrowth of an effort launched in 2012 to integrate bioethics across Geisinger’s key functions in research, innovation, quality improvement, education, and patient care. The Center’s overarching aim is to advance “ethics quality” at Geisinger by aligning individual, group and organizational behaviors with established or emergent norms.
Since the inception of a formal bioethics function at Geisinger, nurses have been a primary source of requests for clinical ethics advice and consultation—and a primary target for enhanced learning and training in clinical ethics and for substantive engagement in quality improvement, innovation, and research. Among the health professions, nurses stand out as key partners in achieving the Center’s overarching aim.
Reporting to the chief bioethics officer, professor and director of the Center, the individual recruited to the position of nurse ethicist will play a pivotal role in advancing the Center’s education and training programs in clinical ethics, in promoting and facilitating the work of the Clinical Ethics Advice and Consultative Service, and in designing, implementing, leading, and evaluating “learning” initiatives (quality improvement, innovation, and research) in such system and Center priority areas as serious, advanced illness and shared decision making.
MAJOR DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
1. In in- as well as out-patient settings, nurses potentially function as crucial sources of “ethics surveillance,” identifying issues, problems, and conflicts that could potentially benefit from the services of the Center’s Clinical Ethics Advice and Consultation Service. Working under the direction of the chief bioethics officer, the nurse ethicist will develop educational and outreach strategies to capitalize upon—and realize—this potential. It is estimated that only 1 out of every 10 problems or conflicts is ultimately brought for help and resolution to an ethics consultation service, which means 9 out of 10 problems or conflicts go without potentially time- and resource-saving assistance, yielding increased costs and deficits in the quality of care. Especially in such areas as intensive and specialty care, the nurse ethicist will cultivate effective unit-based relationships and collaborations with the goal of ensuring that ethically challenging issues more readily have the benefit of expert intervention.
2. The nurse ethicist will also play a key role in staffing the 24/7, system-wide Clinical Ethics Advice and Consultation Service: upon receipt of a request for clinical ethics consultation (CEC), s/he will conduct preliminary analyses and information-gathering; meet with patients/families and team members to elicit concerns, perspectives, and needs; seek to mediate and resolve conflicts within teams, within patients’ families, and between teams, on the one hand, and patients and their families on the other; provide required follow up and communication; conduct assessments of CEC quality by administering and analyzing the results of feedback surveys; evaluate consultation trends and effectiveness (e.g., by conducting electronic health record reviews, etc.).
3. In conjunction with both Center staff and nursing leaders at multiple levels of the organization (i.e., from the level of the chief nursing officer to the level of nursing operations managers), the nurse ethicist will design, develop, implement, and evaluate education and training programs and strategies, grounded in the aim of enhancing the ethical and relational competence of nurses, as well as individuals from other health professions. Such programs and strategies will focus, in part, on improving learners’ diagnostic and
Internal Number: 55692
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