What it means to be ethical

Seven qualities of an ethical case manager

There’s much more to being a case manager than simply completing an appropriate education and several years of clinical experience. A true case manager is a patient advocate who helps patients navigate the stormy waters of the health care system when they are at their most vulnerable.

Effective case management takes ethical competence, and to develop that competence case managers must practice in a manner that is consistent with their morals and their profession’s code of ethics, says Carol Taylor, CSFN, PhD, MSN, RN, assistant professor and ethicist at Georgetown University School of Nursing in Washington, DC.

Taylor says ethical case managers possess the following seven qualities:

• clinical competence;

• ability to act in ways that advance the best interests of the patients entrusted to their care;

• ability to hold themselves and their colleagues accountable for their practice;

• ability to work collaboratively to advocate for patients;

• ability to mediate ethical conflict among the patient, significant others, the health care team, payers, and other interested parties;

• ability to recognize the ethical dimensions of practice and identify and respond to ethical problems;

• ability to critique new health care technologies and changes in the way we define, administer, deliver, and finance health care in light of their potential to influence human well-being.