HEC Forum

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 69–74 | Cite as

Preventive Ethics Through Expanding Education



Healthcare institutions have been making increasing efforts to standardize consultation methodology and to accredit both bioethics training programs and the consultants accordingly. The focus has traditionally been on the ethics consultation as the relevant unit of ethics intervention. Outcome measures are studied in relation to consultations, and the hidden assumption is that consultations are the preferred or best way to address day-to-day ethical dilemmas. Reflecting on the data from an internal quality improvement survey and the literature, we argue that having general ethics education as a key function of ethics services may be more important in meeting the contemporaneous needs of acute care settings. An expanded and varied ethics education, with attention to the time constraints of healthcare workers’ schedules, was a key recommendation brought forward by survey respondents. Promoting ethical reflection and creating a culture of ethics may serve to prevent ethical dilemmas or mitigate their effects.


Ethics consultation Ethics education Communication Preventive ethics Capacity building Accreditation 



We thank Carol Pavlish for her constructive and helpful feedback on an earlier draft. We also thank our anonymous reviewers for their insightful advice.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anita Ho
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  • Lisa Mei-Hwa MacDonald
    • 2
  • David Unger
    • 3
  1. 1.Yong Loo Lin School of MedicineNational University of SingaporeSingaporeSingapore
  2. 2.W. Maurice Young Centre for Applied EthicsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Providence Health CareVancouverCanada

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