Bioethics Blogs

Teaching Graduate Students the ASBH Core Skills of Communication and Interpersonal Skills Through Mock Consultations

For over a decade the faculty of the Alden March Bioethics
Institute has been designing and developing simulated cases for our graduate
students who wish to learn the core skills of clinical ethics consultation. The
model that we use is called “mock consultations”, which provides students the
opportunity to perform an ethics consultation on a simulated case from the
beginning when the request is made, to data collection, interviewing key
players in the case, and on to case analysis the final recommendation.

In the process of developing simulated cases we have made
every effort to make them as real to life as possible. All of the cases we use
are from ethics consultation cases that have been deidentified and made into
anonymous teaching cases. We have benefitted immensely from working closely
with Albany Medical College’s (AMC) Patient Safety Clinical Competence Center
(PSCCC). Those involved in medical education will recognize the importance of simulated
cases using standardized patients (SP) and the role they play in training new
doctors to communicate effectively with patients and families.

The core communication and interpersonal skills on which we
focus in simulated cases, reflect the same basic skills required of all
clinical caregivers, including clinical ethics consultants. That is, all
professional caregivers who go into the hospital clinical setting to provide a
service to patients and families must have a basic proficiency in communication
and interpersonal skills. This is why we at AMBI feel that training the
clinical ethics consultants should and does occur in the same educational
context as all professional clinical caregivers including physicians.

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.