Clinical bioethics has focused largely on individual clinical case dilemmas. Less attention has been given to the everyday ethics of being good healthcare practitioners, physicians, nurses, social workers, respiratory therapists, and physical therapists. Rapid scientific and technical advances push for public and professional ethical concerns focused on science and technology. Consequently, scientific protocols and technologies receive more attention in ethical discourse than everyday ethical comportment and relationships between patients and healthcare providers. Yet, technical and scientific aspects of practice would be ineffective without good patient-healthcare provider relationships. Many ethicists are calling for broader concerns to be addressed in professional ethics.

Meeting patients and their families and recognizing their concerns about healthcare comprise the everyday ethical comportment of the practitioner. Patients and families, while encouraged to become empowered and take more responsibility for their health, are often vulnerable due to...

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