An empirical investigation into moral challenges of (breaching) confidentiality and needs for ethics support when facilitating moral case deliberation

International Journal of Ethics Education 9 (1):79-104 (2024)
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Abstract

Ethics support staff help others to deal with moral challenges. However, they themselves can also experience moral challenges such as issues regarding (breaching) confidentiality when practicing ethics support. Currently there is no insight in these confidentiality issues and also no professional guidance for dealing with them. To gain insight into moral challenges related to Moral Case Deliberation (MCD), we studied a) beliefs and experiences of MCD facilitators regarding breaching confidentiality, b) considerations for (not) breaching confidentiality, and c) needs for an ethics support tool. Data collection consisted of qualitative research methods: six semi-structured interviews; analyses of a) two recorded MCD sessions, and b) a focus group with MCD facilitators. Findings: MCD facilitators mention different conceptions and interpretations of confidentiality and various moral challenges. Questions concerning confidentiality ultimately cause reflections on roles and responsibilities of facilitators. Needs for ethics support vary from seeking advice to procedural and sometimes normative guidance for MCD facilitators. Education for MCD facilitators should focus on developing a concrete tool that stimulates awareness and reflection(skills).

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