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As healthcare leaders respond to Covid-19 our usual focus upon traditional ethics principles such as patient autonomy and honoring the surrogate decision makers’ role have been muted. Hopefully temporarily, we now focus upon the common good, saving the most lives, and limiting family access to the patient’s bedside in order to reduce viral spread.
What ethics principles guide these new measures, and what language can a nurse use to educate, reassure, and support those who are so heavily impacted by this virus…including ourselves and our fellow caregivers? Participants will join the presenter in reviewing those ethics principles that now direct our response to this pandemic, and we will discuss how these principles can guide our interactions with patients, families, the public, and one another.
Alex Chamberlain grew up in Northern New York State and received a BA from St. Lawrence University and a MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary. He is an ordained Presbyterian minister who served congregations in Wyoming and New Zealand before making the change to hospital chaplain. Board certified as a chaplain since 1991 he served in a variety of clinical settings while also being active on ethics committees as a clergy representative. His growing interest in medical ethics led to receiving a MA in Bioethics and Health Policy from Loyola Chicago, and has been working as an ethicist leader at St. Luke's since 2013.
His wife is a ballet instructor, and they have three children. Two of these children are RNs, one serving in an ER and the other in the CVOR. Their third child heard many graphic dinner table conversations from Alex and the nurse siblings, and rather than embrace a career that involved bodily fluids she is finishing up a PhD in American History.
Identify two ethics principles that have become especially relevant during COVID-19
Name three verbal responses to patients and their families when they feel that our guidelines during the pandemic violate their rights or otherwise add to their distress.
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