Skill Summary List

Skill areas recommended for ethics consultation as presented in the discussion draft of the Society for Health and Human Values and Society for Bioethics Consultation Task Force on Standards for Bioethics Consultation. The task force recommends an advanced level of skill for an individual or at least one member of the ethics team or committee for most areas unless otherwise noted. Every committee member should possess a basic skill level for each area.

1. Skills necessary to identify the nature of the value uncertainty or conflict that underlies the need for consultation (the ability to discern and gather relevant data; assess the social and interpersonal dynamics of the case; distinguish the ethical dimensions of the case from other, often overlapping, dimensions; and identify various assumptions which concerned parties bring to the case). Ethical assessment skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have an advanced skill level in this area.

2. Skills necessary to analyze the value uncertainty or conflict (the ability to assess the relevant knowledge, clarify relevant concepts, and critically evaluate and use knowledge of bioethics, law, institutional policy, and professional codes in the case). Ethical assessment skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have an advanced skill level in this area.

3. Skills necessary to the ability to facilitate formal and informal meetings (identify key decision makers and relevant concerned parties and involve them in discussion, set ground rules for formal meetings, be clear about the limits of one’s role within the meeting, and create an atmosphere of trust). Process skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have an advanced skill level in this area.

4. Ability to build moral consensus (the ability to help individuals critically analyze their values, negotiate between competing moral views, and recognize and acknowledge possible areas of conflict between one’s personal moral views and one’s role in doing consultation). Process skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have an advanced skill level in this area.

5. Ability to utilize institutional structures and resources to implement the chosen option. Process skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have a basic skill level in this area.

6. Ability to elicit feedback regarding the process of consultation so the process can be evaluated. Process skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have a basic skill level in this area.

7. Ability to listen well and to communicate interest, respect, support, and empathy to concerned parties. Interpersonal skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have an advanced skill level in this area.

8. Ability to educate effectively concerned parties regarding — especially — the ethical dimensions of the case. Interpersonal skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have a basic skill level in this area.

9. Ability to elicit the moral views of various parties. Interpersonal skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have an advanced skill level in this area.

10. Ability to represent the views of various parties to others. Interpersonal skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have an advanced skill level in this area.

11. Ability to enable the various parties to communicate effectively and be heard by other parties. Interpersonal skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have an advanced skill level in this area.

12. Ability to recognize and resolve various relational barriers to communication. Interpersonal skill. At least one member of the team or committee should have a basic skill level in this area.