Role of the Nutrition Support Clinician on a Hospital Bioethics Committee.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Nutrition in clinical practice : official publication of the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition


Hospital bioethics committees comprise a diverse group of healthcare professionals to deal with ethical issues within the institution that arise during patient care. The nutrition support clinicians (NSCs) have an important role on a bioethics committee because of their knowledge and expertise of different nutrition routes and the benefits vs burdens and risks of these modalities, both enteral and parenteral nutrition. Ethics expertise is built on an understanding of ethical principles, when applied in clinical ethics, using critical thinking to prevent ethical dilemmas and to assist in healthcare decision making with a focus on patient-centered care. The NSCs have the opportunity to address ethics during direct patient care with their participation in the intensive care unit interprofessional rounds, family meetings, and surrogate meetings. Evident in ethical dilemmas is often the lack of advance care planning by patients and their family members concerning healthcare wishes for when the individual is unable to communicate their preferences for life-sustaining therapies, including nutrition support. NSCs, as hospital bioethics committee members, are able to support the initiative of National Healthcare Decisions Day to help educate other healthcare clinicians and the public about the importance of advance care planning with communication of healthcare wishes and completion of an advance directive. Components addressed in the article are incorporated into a comprehensive ethics case study, highlighting the role of NSCs.

Clinical Institute

Digestive Health