One thing I am watching in my field is the tie-in to Quality (with a capital Q). Several years ago, a mentor of mine made this connection evident for me. There is a clear link between a mindful environment, with ethical and moral space, and Quality Improvement (yes, that sentence was 90% buzz-word). This is to say that diminishing moral distress (generally, know what the right thing to do is, but being unable to it) increases the frequency of good care experiences. My mentor got Lean Six Sigma certified because, it appears, “quality” is more than a descriptive term—it’s an approach to assess problems and to facilitate change.
Once I got clued-in, I began seeing the link everywhere. The Veteran Affairs Hospitals and clinical ethics programs are doing wonderful things (too lengthy to describe) and creating evidence. You see, high-level health-care people like evidence and measures and metrics, which has always been an area where clinical ethics has traditionally had problems producing. I love the VA because it has lots of potential, and does really good work: it’s actually very hard not to like and sets the standard in the field. The call now is for everyone else to catch-up, or even better yet, to innovate. That’s what my team has been working hard on, though we at times look back on what’s come before for inspiration.
I guess the link-in for up-and-coming JDs would be QI that exists in legal fields. Looking at QI as a meta-analysis by practitioners (at my hospital, most QI analysts are RNs) to improve the delivery of service, are there opportunities in this field for lawyers (I am sure there are) that can be taken advantage of? The underlying point I suppose I am making is that this is one approach to finding fulfilling work.