Briefing - Organizational Ethics Is Everyone's Business

November-December 2006

BY: SCOTT McCONNAHA, M.A.

The topic of this issue's special section is for everyone. As participants in the Catholic health ministry, each person has a role in how his or her organization carries out its mission. Organizational ethics is concerned with the values that inform why an organization does what it does. The key for everyone involved is knowing how to act according to their organization's mission and values. That's what this issue's special section is about.

On a more theoretical level, John (Jack) Gallagher, Ph.D., looks at the creative processes needed for keeping our complex organizations virtuous and ever-expressive of the healing presence of Jesus. David Ozar, Ph.D., lays the foundation for how Catholic health care organizations speak about and act out their mission and core values in the community. And five ethicists participate in a Q&A that seeks to define organizational ethics.

Moving toward a more nuts and bolts approach to organizational ethics, Brian O'Toole, Ph.D., discusses his organization's plan for hiring colleagues whose actions will likely align with desired values and integrity. Bill Brinkmann and his collaborators share their experience with a tool that will help organizations assess and enhance how they put the standards of Catholic social tradition into practice. And Sr. Patricia Talone, RSM, Ph.D., offers her insights on establishing organizational ethics committees.

Among the other articles in this issue is a piece by Jane Braaten, RN, MS, and her colleagues at Centura Health on how they implemented a life-saving process that helps staff identify patients who are likely to go into cardiac arrest before it happens. Nalini Jairath, RN, Ph.D., and her fellow authors explore the nursing profession's contribution to the theological principle of the common good. Terrance McGuire, EdD, and Brenda Bowers, Ph.D., explain their system's approach to managing change. And finally, though cancer took her life prematurely, the wisdom of Sr. Diane Grassilli, RSM, lives on, as evidenced in an adaptation of an inspiring talk she gave to colleagues in 2005.

This is my first issue as editor of Health Progress. I am well aware of what this publication has meant to the Catholic health ministry over the years, and my goal is to continue providing you with an appealing source of information and inspiration. To do this better, though, we need to hear from you. Please send me your ideas, reactions, concerns, and kudos. Health Progress exists for your benefit first. Tell us how we can be of service.

Scott McConnaha
Editor, Health Progress
Catholic Health Association
St. Louis

Copyright © 2006 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
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