The challenge of ethical practice in the context of complex health systems, diverse and aging patient populations, rapidly evolving technology and treatments, and limited resources is significant. Questions about ethics arise in the work that each person involved in health care does each day. Ethics education aims both to foster an understanding and awareness of relevant issues and to develop the skills needed for addressing them. Accordingly, a variety of pedagogical techniques – from presentations to conceptual and case-based analysis to role modeling and mentoring to demonstrating practices of reflection – are employed by NSHEN to achieve these goals, build capacity and progressively develop knowledge and skills related to moral analysis and values clarification/evaluation.
Currently, NSHEN is focused on providing ethics committee members around the province with education that meets their needs – as they are the primary ethics resource in each of the health districts and Department of Health. This education includes, for example, developing an orientation manual for new ethics committee members. In addition, NSHEN is committed to bi-monthly education sessions that are telehealthed around the province and open to anyone. Topics for these sessions are chosen based on identified needs. NSHEN has held annual conferences since April 2008 and each year the audience base continues to grow which is very exciting as it identifies the need for ethics in the workplace.