Ethics is meant to be alive, to be discussed and debated, not to be a passive nor rigid topic, or taught as rote learning.  It is meant to be fluid and to ignite, so one is forced to be challenged, confused, enraged, impassioned, delighted, and relieved. No clinician is perfectly ethically sound in all of their actions. But a good clinician will be able to recognize when an ethical dilemma arises and will know what action to take to ensure the best possible outcome. This is the kind of ethical clinician we should all strive to become.

Because there are so many different aspects to a clinical practice, there are also countless ethical dilemmas that could affect your daily practice. There is often not a simple answer, and those looking for a black and white solution to a dilemma will be disappointed. Ethics is often about the swampy grey area, where the choice is really between the better of two faulty options. And the best option is seldom agreed upon by all clinicians. This is what makes Ethics interesting and ever-changing.

Thus the mark of a ethically sound clinician is not that he or she always knows what to do in every situation, but that he or she recognizes that the best answer is not always obvious and will know where to go for help when in an ethical dilemma. This is the kind of clinician we should all strive to be.

Finally, because there are so many nuances to any situation that make it unique, and because there are often many different possible decisions in an ethical dilemma, it is recommended that you discuss ethical situations as often as you can. The good news is that Ethics trainings are required every 2 years (no really, that is good news!), but I would encourage all of you to take additional Ethics trainings, especially if they are geared toward discussing ethical dilemmas. You can never get too much of these discussions and they will strengthen your clinical practice. Formal trainings are, of course, only one way to strengthen your practice. Informal discussions among colleagues are another fantastic way of keeping Ethics alive in your practice. Instead of seeing it as an annoying requirement to check off your list, look at it as a vibrant part of your professional growth.

The purpose of this blog is to both dispense information and to get a discussion going, so take some time and peruse the place. Make sure to ask questions, comment on posts, and donate any information you have to the cause.

Have fun with it!