Calls for Stories

Receiving Clinical Ethics Consultation Services

Symposium Editors Jana M. Craig, Ph.D. and Thomas May, Ph.D.

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics will publish a collection of personal stories from people who have received clinical ethics consultation (CEC) services as a health care provider, patient, family member, or patient advocate. CECs offer support when complex medical decisions are further complicated by difficult ethical issues. Criteria for assessing the value of CECs are controversial. First-person stories may help illustrate the ways in which CECs enhance the healthcare experience for patients and their families, as well as for members of the care team. First-person narratives may also reveal shortcomings or drawbacks of CECs that warrant further discussion. 

We seek stories from patients and families, physicians, nurses, social workers, risk managers, hospital administrators, and others who have received CEC services. (We are not collecting stories from ethics consultants about providing CEC services.) We want true, personal stories in a form that is interesting and easy to read. In writing your story, please consider these questions: 

  • What do you see as the primary role of the CEC service? How well did your consultant fulfill this role? 
  • Did the CEC assist you in making care decisions? 
  • Did the clinical ethicist value your perspective as a participant in the consultation? If so, how? If not, how did that make you feel? 
  • Was there anything surprising about the CEC? Is there anything you think others should know before requesting a consult? 
  • What did you find helpful about the CEC? What was not helpful? Based on your experience, would you recommend the service to others? Why or why not? 
  • For patients, families, or surrogate decision-makers: how did the consult affect your relationship with the healthcare team and/or your family? Do you think the CEC contributed to doing what was best for the patient? 
  • For healthcare workers: how has your engagement with a CEC influenced your practice? What would you like hospital leaders and decision-makers to know about your experience with a CEC? 

You do not need to address each of these questions—write about the issues you think are most important to share. If you are not a writer, tell your story in your own words, and our editorial staff will help you. 

If you are interested in submitting a story, we ask you first to submit a 300-word proposal—a short description of the story you want to tell. Inquiries or proposals should be sent to the editorial office via email We will give preference to proposals received by September 29th, 2023. If your story is invited, we will ask you to submit it within six weeks of the invitation. Stories should be 4 – 10 double-spaced pages or 800 – 2000 words. 

For more information about the journal Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics, the guidelines for authors, and privacy policies, visit our webpage at 

We plan to publish 12 stories on this topic in our print edition; additional stories may be published as online-only supplemental material. We also publish 3 – 4 commentary articles that discuss the stories that are published in the journal. To see a finished symposium, please visit Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics’ page on Project MUSE and click on the unlocked, open-access issue. 

Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics is indexed in PubMed, MEDLINE, Scopus, Web of Science, and PhilPapers. The journal is published by the Johns Hopkins University Press and is available in print and electronically to over 1,200 institutional subscribers via Project MUSE.