Published: 02-07-2013 00:00 | Updated: 13-02-2014 13:24

Ethics Prize for dedicated work in everyday clinical practices

Marie Chenik, qualified nurse, M.Sc and ethics coordinator at Karolinska University Hospital in Solna and Huddinge, was awarded the 2013 Karolinska Institutet ethics prize.

"Through structured training efforts, Marie Chenik has shown the ability to form a bridge between the research community and clinical activities. She has also managed in an organised manner to incorporate ethical work into everyday clinical practices", says Niels Lynöe, Chair of the Karolinska Institutet Ethics Council.

When Karolinska Hospital created an ethics committee in 1993, Marie Chenik was elected as a nurse representative. At the time, she was encouraging staff to get involved in the daily work with patients, which had rarely happened before. She contacted people at the hospital who had an interest in ethics, with the aim of creating an ethics network. These people underwent training and were made ethics officers on departmental level and ethics representatives on clinic level. In this way, an effective chain was established between employees in close patient care and top level management. In 2004, Marie Chenik initiated a national ethics network.

Throughout the years, Marie Chenik has planned and organized a number of seminars and training activities, such as introduction courses in practical ethics for all staff and an intensive course in medical ethics for doctors in specialist medical training in collaboration with Karolinska Institutet. She maintains that it is crucial that all staff practice their ethical competence and are well versed in laws, regulations and policies related to ethical work.

"You must be able to identify an ethical problem when it arises, build your reporting and position on plain facts and see past any conflicts of values or interests", says Marie Chenik.

"Seeing the ethical dimension requires a trained eye. Ethical issues in care are sometimes complex. They may involve seriously ill children or other patients who are not capable of making decisions themselves about foregoing or ending life-sustaining treatment, about difficult priorities in cases where resources are insufficient or whether experimental treatment should be attempted as a last recourse for a dying patient", says Marie Chenik.

The Karolinska Institutet Ethics Prize is awarded annually to a person or a group working at Karolinska Institutet that has made special efforts to promote ethics within the university. The purpose of the prize is to increase ethical awareness and to recognize good role models among the employees.