Pastoral Care: Finding a Niche in Ethical Decision Making
Phillips, Donald F.
Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics. 1993 Winter; 2(1): 99-106.
Role confusion is bound to be an important problem in the near future as more pastoral care practitioners become more familiar with ethical discourse and are asked to take on assignments in the area of ethics, whether it be serving on an ethics committee or giving counsel to patients who face ethical dilemmas....A recent survey of CoC [College of Chaplains] to identify the needs and level of bioethic activity by chaplains revealed that chaplains are very highly visible and are heavily used as members of ethics committees. The respondents said they serve in their roles as theologians and consultants, provide resources for physicians, staff, patients, and families, and enter into discussions and consultations. Nonetheless, many chaplains made it clear that they do not feel comfortable in the role of an ethicist, although they are often called upon to be one. Recent articles about physician-clerics have stressed that although medicine and religion, or at least the moral underpinnings of religion, are finding more common ground or that a pastoral approach can enhance a physician's effectiveness, it is still difficult for someone trained in both disciplines to combine them in daily practice. The roles and relationships of chaplains and other pastoral care personnel will continue to be explored and redefined in the foreseeable future....However it sorts out, the chaplain's role as a member of the healthcare team is bound to become stronger, more vocal, and more widespread.
Bioethics; Clergy; Clinical Ethics; Clinical Ethics Committees; Communication; Cultural Pluralism; Consultation; Decision Making; Ethicists; Ethics; Ethics Committees; Family Members; Health; Hospitals; Indigents; Institutional Policies; Interprofessional Relations; Medicine; Pastoral Care; Patient Advocacy; Patient Care; Patient Care Team; Patients; Physicians; Referral and Consultation; Religion; Religious Ethics; Survey;
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