Is there a role for ethics in addressing healthcare incivility?

Nursing Ethics 29 (6):1466-1475 (2022)
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In a healthcare setting, a multitude of ethical and moral challenges are often present when patients and families direct uncivil behavior toward clinicians and staff. These negative interactions may elicit strong social and emotional reactions among staff, other patients, and visitors; and they may impede the normal functioning of an institution. Ethics Committees and Clinical Ethics Consultation Services (CECSs) can meaningfully contribute to organizational efforts to effectively manage incivility through two distinct, yet inter-related channels. First, given their responsibility to promote a humane, respectful, and professional climate, many CECSs and Ethics Committees may assist institutional leadership in evaluating and monitoring incivility policies and procedures. Second, when confronted with individual incidents of patient/family incivility, Ethics Consultants can and often do work with all stakeholders to address and mitigate potentially deleterious impacts. This manuscript presents an overview of the multifaceted ethical implications of incivility in the healthcare environment, discusses the inherent qualifications of Ethics Consultants for assisting in the management of incivility, and proposes specific mitigating actions within the purview of CECSs and Ethics Committees. We also invite healthcare organizations to harness the skills and reputation of their CECSs and Ethics Committees in confronting incivility through comprehensive policies, procedures, and training.



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incivility As A Barometer Of Societal Decay.Robert Moffat - 2001 - Florida Philosophical Review 1 (1):63-80.


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