Inviting Introspection:Intentions for Ethical Engagement in Practice

Main Article Content

William Ventres


The practice of medicine is full of ethical challenges. Although ethical principles and organizational formats can help clinicians manage these challenges, they do not necessarily help them develop the routine habit of bringing a focused ethical attentiveness to every patient encounter. In this article, the author—a seasoned generalist practitioner—describes how he has personally worked to cultivate this habit by holding in mind four introspective intentions. These intentions are aimed at alleviating suffering, promoting dignity, recognizing interdependency, and advancing wisdom, respectively. The author presents these intentions, reviews some benefits by which they enhance his work, and discusses some concerns they pose. He concludes by inviting other health care professionals and bioethical specialists to consider integrating intentions into their own clinical and consultative practices.

Article Details

How to Cite
Ventres, W. (2019). Inviting Introspection:Intentions for Ethical Engagement in Practice. The International Journal of Whole Person Care, 6(2), 11–18.
The Clinician's Art
Author Biography

William Ventres, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences

Department of Family and Preventive Medicine

Associate Professor and the Ben Saltzman, MD, Distinguished Chair in Rural Family Medicine


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