6th National Nursing Ethics Conference, Los Angeles CA, March 20-22, 2019

Theme – Vulnerability and Presence

A conference of the Ethics of Caring® Collaboration

Location: Luskin Conference Center, UCLA

General Description

By its very nature an ethic of care calls us to address the vulnerability of those we care for as well as our own. This dual ethical obligation of caring for yourself while caring for others illuminates the understanding that vulnerability is a thread that weaves us all together as human beings. The vulnerable person is not to be regarded as ‘other,’ as it is part of the human condition to experience vulnerability; thus, it is not we, “the clinician” and they, the “ill.”

Denying our own vulnerability can drive us apart, diminishing our compassion. How should one respond in an ethical way when caring for a person with a recalcitrant addiction, an unrepresented elder, an angry patient, an uninsured immigrant, or parents challenged to address best-interest decisions for their children? We have an opportunity to move beyond our defense mechanisms, reactivity, or bias into empathic responses where we acknowledge that human vulnerability is not only in our patients, but also in ourselves as well as in our colleagues. We need to move beyond wanting simple answers, and shifting from our fix-it interventions, to tolerating the messiness, and making use of our powerful and attentive presence. We can use the human journey of vulnerability to both notice and participate in the unfolding process and the potential for unimagined outcomes. This conference will encourage awareness and reflection that will develop creative and skillful responses to the stark vulnerability that we witness in healthcare daily. In doing so, this conference will enhance your practice and promote care and compassion for the self as professional caregiver.

Conference Objectives

By the end of the conference, participants will be able to:

  1. Define vulnerability and recognize its integral link to the obligations of nursing as addressed in the ANA Code of Ethics.
  2. Appreciate the value, necessity, and impact of therapeutic presence as it incorporates an ethic of care into one’s practice.
  3. Recognize the consequences of repeated witnessing of vulnerability on the clinician.
  4. In a non-threatening way, gain insight into one’s own vulnerability and its effect on one’s professional comportment and on the self.
  5. Explore the concept of stigma and biases and the consequences on everything including prioritization, relational responses, and developing policies.
  6. Describe effective strategies that enhance the humanity of the vulnerable patient.

Keynote Speakers

  • Joan Liaschenko
  • Amy Haddad
  • Denise Dudzinski
  • Jay Baruch
  • Hui-Wen Sato
  • Daniel Goldberg