September 30, 2014 Webinar Announcement - Patient Care Services
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September 30, 2014 Webinar Announcement

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“Rural Clergy and Confidentiality: An Ethics Review”

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Originally broadcast September 30, 2014 


This interactive webinar explored commonly occurring ethical issues surrounding confidentiality and privacy for rural clergy. The training will highlight several rural characteristics that impact ethical issues for today's clergy, including overlapping professional-personal relationships, shared community culture, and the role of churches in small communities in an environment where everyone knows one another. These unique rural characteristics dramatically affect both the presentation and the response to confidentiality and privacy concerns arising in pastoral care. Through the use of case studies, the training identified basic ethical standards for clergy and those occasions when there may be an ethical and legal justification for breaching confidentiality; and identified important resources that clergy might consider using in addressing questions of confidentiality.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the ethical basis for clergy confidentiality.
  2. Explore common, recurring confidentiality situations that arise for clergy members.
  3. Recognize the need to clearly state statutes and laws regarding clergy confidentiality, especially required reporting laws.
  4. Discuss practical ideas that your community can implement to help returning Veterans and their families. 

Your Presenter

Dr. William Nelson

Dr. William Nelson, a former VA chaplain is currently an Associate Professor and Director of Rural Ethics Initiatives in the Department of Community and Family Medicine; Psychiatry at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Hanover, New Hampshire. In addition to receiving a MDiv, he has earned a PhD in applied ethics. Dr. Nelson has received many awards, is a frequent speaker throughout the United States and abroad and has published over 85 articles. Despite leaving the VA he continues to collaborate with the National Chaplain training Center in fostering the important role of chaplains and clergy in the care of Veterans.


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The "Community Clergy Training to Support Rural Veterans Mental Health" Promising Practice is funded by the VA Office of Rural Health.