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A Description of Humanist Scholars Functioning as Ethicists in the Clinical Setting

  • Joy D. Skeel (a1), Donnie J. Self (a2) and Roland T. Skeel (a3)

This descriptive study is an attempt to characterize the field known as clinical ethics, with regard to the function of humanities scholars in the clinical setting, e.g., hospitals and ambulatory care clinics. It is not a strict epidemiological study but a qualitative survey, although it reports some empirical data. Most discussions of medical humanities in the literature are conceptual analyses of particular issues, such as informed consent, abortion, confidentiality, etc. Virtually no empirical studies with data on how many clinical ethicists function in what roles and with what educational backgrounds have been reported. This is the first such study of humanities scholars in clinical ethics and will be followed by companion reports of physicians and hospital chaplains who are, by self-report, involved in clinical ethics. This report is an effort to stimulate and encourage dialogue and is in no way definitive. It is a preliminary study, and other needed studies are already underway.

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J Glover , D Ozar , D Thomasma . Teaching ethics on rounds: the ethicist as teacher, consultant and decision-maker. Theoretical Medicine 1986; 7: 1332.

D Barnard . Residency ethics teaching: a critique of current tends. Archives of Internal Medicine 1988; 148: 1836–8.

DJ Self , JD Skeel . Potential roles of the medical ethicist in the clinical setting. Theoretical Medicine 1986; 7: 33–9.

DJ Self , JD Skeel . Professional liability (malpractice) coverage of humanist scholars functioning as clinical medical ethicists. The Journal of Medical Humanities and Bioethics 1988; 9(2): 101–10.

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Cambridge Quarterly of Healthcare Ethics
  • ISSN: 0963-1801
  • EISSN: 1469-2147
  • URL: /core/journals/cambridge-quarterly-of-healthcare-ethics
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