Conclusion

There are, of course, a plethora of other issues that must be addressed as ethics committees and ethics consultation continue to evolve and develop. These include questions concerning how their activities might be evaluated, legal liability for committees and consultants, and the ever-present question of whether committees or consultants should be certified or accredited in some form. Some of the data considered above, however, suggest a more immediate and pressing concern. Recall that contemporary ethics committees are usually standing committees with multidisciplinary representation, including medicine, nursing, social work, law, pastoral care, healthcare administration, and various specialty areas, and that half of all ethics committee chairs reported "feeling inadequately prepared to address" the issues they face (McGee, et al.). Even more concerning, recall that only 5 percent of those doing ethics consultation were reported to have completed a fellowship or degree program in bioethics, or to have had any formal education or training for ethics consultation other than direct supervision (Fox). Perhaps the single biggest challenge in the immediate future, then, will be helping to ensure that ethics committee members and ethics consultants have adequate education and training to carry out the important work that is entrusted to them.

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