Abstract

Abstract:

There is an irreducible amount of uncertainty in clinical decision-making. Both health care providers and patients experience anxiety elicited by clinical uncertainty, and this can lead to missed opportunities for healthy shared decision-making. In order to improve the patient-provider relationship and the ethical qualities of decision-making, the provider first needs to recognize where his/her "unknowing" exists. This article presents a model for a unique ethics of unknowing by identifying three levels at which the provider's knowledge or lack thereof impacts clinical decision-making. The model illuminates ethical choices that providers can make to promote healthy patient-provider relationships. The means by which an ethics of unknowing informs shared decision-making in patient care will be exemplified through a case study of one patient's encounters with several physicians while making difficult decisions throughout her breast cancer journey.

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Additional Information

ISSN
2157-1740
Print ISSN
2157-1732
Pages
pp. 159-172
Launched on MUSE
2020-09-02
Open Access
No
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