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Reenergizing the Hospital Ethics Committee: An Opportunity for Nursing

McCabe, Mary S. MA, RN

Journal of Hospice & Palliative Nursing: December 2015 - Volume 17 - Issue 6 - p 480–487
doi: 10.1097/NJH.0000000000000190
Ethics Series

Although hospital ethics committees are common throughout the United States, they differ considerably in the number of members, the preparation of these members, how they function, and the perceived quality of their work. Too frequently, an ethics committee is developed without a formal institutional plan, which leads to unfilled expectations, eventual inactivity, and a perception that the committee is not a valued resource within the institution. The focus of this article is to provide a framework for a well-constituted ethics committee with recommendations for revitalizing a committee that does not function optimally, with specific emphasis on the role of nurses as key members.

Mary S. McCabe, MA, RN, is chair, Ethics Committee, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

Address correspondence to Mary S. McCabe, MA, RN, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Ave, New York, NY 10065 (

The author has no conflicts of interest to disclose.

© 2015 by The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association.