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Ethics Consultation Apprenticeship Program

     There is a growing recognition in the field of ethics consultation that training programs and workshops, no matter how excellent, may within a short time be lost to memory in the midst of a health care professional's daily work. In order to better assure the continual cultivation of the moral underpinnings, norms and standards of the consultation endeavor, an extended period of mentoring and tutelage is required. This insight is only now emerging in a strong way. Our faculty are very much in support of this movement toward a formal "apprenticeship", and we support the associated concepts of consultant certification and credentialing.

     We believe a period of at least one year should be allowed, following the initial Consultation workshop, for this apprenticeship. Its constitutive elements include the following for each participant in the program:
  • Participation in the regular meetings of the ethics committee
  • Assignment to rotating, one-week stints of on-call responsibility for ethics consultation
  • Ongoing supervised case study, including group discussions with consultation team and practice at composing documentation notes for the medical record
  • One-on-one mentoring of each apprentice by Consultancy staff
  • Participation in monthly journal and book study in moral theory. Three essential volumes over the year's time will constitute the moral theory coursework
  • Serving as lead consultor in at least three ethics consultations
  • Attendance at annual CHEF Conference

     Obviously, to provide such a comprehensive program requires a significant investment of faculty time.¬†However, we at the Consultancy are greatly interested in tracking the effectiveness of this apprenticeship program. We would hope to include your attendees in a formal study which might yield significant insights on the merits of the approach, as well as indicators for its improvement.

     We will develop an estimate of faculty time depending upon the number of participants, in a manner sufficiently flexible to assure that each participant does indeed receive both individual and group mentoring in the process. Our fees average $75 per hour, well below standard professional fees for such services. The consultancy assures faculty participation as follows:
  • Faculty attendance at the monthly ethics committee of each hospital
  • Facilitation of monthly one-hour journal and book study sessions
  • Small team appointments with consultors from each institution on a twice-monthly basis
  • Collaboration with each hospital's ethics committee leadership in developing case consultation structures and procedures
  • Availability 24/7 for case consultation support
     Through our Apprenticeship Program, each participant will receive continual training and case practice, in a mentoring relationship with faculty already familiar through the Workshops. Expertise in moral reasoning, as well as in "the art of the conversation," small group dynamics, team relationships, composition of ethics notes for the medical record and other aspects of ethics consultation will be developed and professionalized.

     At the conclusion of the Program, each participant will be certified by the Consultancy, and credentialed for ethics consultation by their institution. We look forward to your involvement in the Ethics Consultation Apprenticeship Program.

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