For many years, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center has offered bi-annual continuing education activities related to current issues in Bio-ethics. In general, members of ethics committees at health care facilities include folks with a multitude of diverse experiences, backgrounds, and areas of expertise.
The Bio-ethics planning committee at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center over the years has been comprised of representatives who characterize that diversity including nurses and physicians with varied clinical specialties and backgrounds, social workers, chaplaincy, and patients to name a few. Members are invited to be part of the planning committee based on the topic being discussed at the conference. This has worked well because the voices of those most affected by, confronted by, or who have experienced the issue under study are able to be featured in the overall discussion.
Evaluations of the conferences have consistently been positive and attendees have shared that the “take-away” messages resonate in part because of the inclusion of the many unique voices and the different perspectives of members of the health care team. Conferences that are based on an identified bioethical, interprofessional need and are planned, executed, and evaluated by an interprofessional team have resulted in the ongoing ability of the planning committee to offer programs that are not only informative, but relevant in the changing healthcare landscape.