FAQ

What is IPEP?
IPEP stands for Institute for Professionalism and Ethical Practice.

What is the overall goal of the Institute?
The overall goal of the Institute is to cultivate relational competence in healthcare.

What is the mission of the Institute?
Our mission is to promote relational learning for healthcare professionals that integrates patient and family perspectives, professionalism, and the everyday ethics of clinical practice.

How did the Institute get started?
The Institute was founded in March 2007 with the generous support of Boston Children’s Hospital.  Co-founders of the Institute are Robert D. Truog, MD, Elaine C. Meyer, PhD, RN and David M. Browning, MSW, BCD.

How is the Institute funded?
The Institute relies on several revenue resources including revenues from training programs, Boston Children’s Hospital contributions (hospital-wide and departmental), philanthropic funding and grant funding.

What is the relationship between PERCS and IPEP?
PERCS stands for Program to Enhance Relational and Communication Skills.  PERCS began at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2002 by offering innovative, experiential day-long workshops focused on difficult conversations in pediatric critical care.  As PERCS expanded its scope over time to apply to a wide range of difficult conversations in pediatric as well as adult healthcare, the Institute was formed, in order to provide an institutional home and organizational structure to support these initiatives.

What is the current leadership of the Institute?
Elaine Meyer serves as Director, Robert Truog is Executive Director, David Browning is Senior Scholar, and Elizabeth A. Rider, MSW, MD serves as Director of Academic Programs.

Where does the faculty for your programs come from?
Faculty members include physicians, nurses, chaplains, psychosocial professionals, and experienced family members, all of whom are mentored in advanced facilitation skills.

What kinds of programs do you offer?
The Institute specializes in developing and offering innovative educational workshops and interventions focused on difficult conversations occurring across a wide range of settings in pediatric and adult health care.

What is different about your educational approach?
The success of our approach to learning depends on creating psychological safety, valuing multiple perspectives across disciplines, minimizing negative effects of hierarchy, supporting whole-person learning, and validating the already-existing practice knowledge of participants.

What do you want participants to take away from your workshops?
We want our participants to increase their relational competence, which includes a range of relational capacities, including reflective self-awareness, sense of self-efficacy, capacity to empathize, tolerance of imperfection and vulnerability, and integration of personhood with one’s professional role.

What do you mean by everyday ethics of clinical practice?
While we see communication skills as quite important, we want those skills to be learned in a context that stresses the ethical principles of transparency, respect, accountability, continuity and kindness.  (“TRACK”).  We believe that the cultivation of relational competence for clinicians depends on holding ourselves accountable to these relational values in all of our healthcare conversations.

How do you know whether your workshops make a difference?
Immediately after and five months following training, nearly all participants reported consistent improvement in their preparation and confidence to engage in difficult conversations and in their communication skills.  Participants identified the most important aspects of learning as: appreciating one’s existing competence, integrating new communication skills and relational capacities, appreciating interdisciplinary collaboration; and valuing the approach to learning taken in the workshops.

Is previous experience with difficult family situations and conferences necessary for participation?  
No, our workshops are open to clinicians with a range of experience and from multiple disciplines.  We encourage those with limited experience to participate alongside those with more experience.  Both “beginning” and “advanced” clinicians have given positive feedback about the opportunities to learn collaboratively in our workshops.

Do your workshops offer continuing education credits? 
It depends on the workshop.  Please see the description of each workshop on our Workshops & Consultation page.

Will I be required to participate in the live enactments during a workshop? 
We encourage but do not require each participant to be part of the enactments.  We have found that direct participation in the enactments offers a unique educational opportunity.  At the same time, participants who observe the enactments can have an equally beneficial learning experience.

My schedule is really tight, can I come for just part of a workshop? 
Given the nature of the program, the learning is a collaborative process that builds throughout the workshop.  Participants are expected to attend the entire workshop.

I’ve been working in healthcare for twelve years – will I learn anything new?
We have found that experienced clinicians seem to benefit as much from the workshop as more junior clinicians.

I do not work at Boston Children’s Hospital – can I still attend a workshop?
We welcome clinicians from other institutions to join us on a space available basis.

How can I find more information?
Please contact us!

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