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Administrative (Non-Clinical) Policy
This administrative policy applies to the operations and staff of the University of Wisconsin Hospitals and
Clinics Authority (UWHCA) as integrated effective July 1, 2015, including the legacy operations and
staff of University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics (UWHC) and University of Wisconsin Medical
Policy Title: Staff Objections to Participating in Aspects of Patient Care
Policy Number: 9.44
Effective Date: December 1, 2016
Chapter: Human Resources
This policy provides guidelines to University of Wisconsin Hospital & Clinics UW Health employees to
ensure delivery of care to all patients while respecting employees' cultural values and religious beliefs.
II. POLICY ELEMENTS
UW Health employees are required to provide considerate, respectful, and comprehensive care to patients.
Continuity and quality of care may not be compromised because of an employee's cultural values and
religious beliefs. Employees must notify their supervisor in writing of constraints which may impact
performance of their job duties. The supervisor is responsible to ensure continuity of patient care. The
supervisor may also assist the employee in reconciling patient care needs with the employee's cultural
values and religious beliefs. The patient's race, religion, national origin, age, gender, gender identity,
sexual preference, or disease process will not be considered as a basis not to participate in aspects of
III. PERSONS AFFECTED
This policy applies to all employees, with the exception of Graduate Medical Education trainees (see
A. During the hiring process, applicants will receive a description of the patient population with
which the positions will have contact and the required work schedule. This will provide
applicants an opportunity to consider potential conflicts with cultural and/or religious beliefs.
B. At the time of hire or transfer or as soon as the potential conflict is identified, the employee is
responsible to advise his or her supervisor of any cultural or religious constraints which may
impact his or her ability to perform the duties of the position or meet performance
expectations. The supervisor will meet with the employee and together they will explore informal
alternatives to resolve the conflict. An Employee Relations Consultant (ERC) may also be
contacted for assistance.
C. If the conflict continues or cannot be informally resolved, the employee must submit a written
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1. States specific cultural values or religious beliefs impacting the employee's ability to
perform his/her duties, and
2. Identifies the specific aspect(s) of care affected by the cultural value(s) or religious
belief(s) and states the consideration requested or desired in recognition of these
D. The supervisor, in consultation with an ERC, will discuss the request with the employee and
determine whether consideration of these constraints can be made without compromising the
continuity and quality of patient care or treatment. Formal alternatives to resolve the conflict will
be considered, which may include a change in job duties, work schedule, or position, employee
election to transfer to a different position, temporary changes in job duties, referral to the
Employee Assistance Program (EAP) (Hospital Administrative Policy 9.15-Employee Assistance
Program) to address personal values which conflict with their ability to perform their duties or to
Pastoral Care to assist in resolving religious conflicts. Employee training and group discussions
may be utilized to resolve cultural and/or religious conflicts related to patient care and treatment.
E. If an immediate and unanticipated situation arises where the employee's cultural values or
religious beliefs affect the employee's ability to provide patient care or treatment, the employee
must notify the supervisor as soon as possible. The employee must continue to perform his/her
duties without compromising the continuity or quality of patient care until an alternate can be
provided for performance of those duties.
F. The above procedures do not apply to Graduate Medical Education trainees. GME concerns that
cannot be resolved with the GME Program Director shall be addressed by the SVP for Medical
Affairs or the Designated Institutional Official.
G. The above procedures do not apply to UW School of Medicine and Public Health employees.
Any objections to participating in care by SMPH employees should be referred to SMPH Human
This Policy creates no rights, contractual or otherwise. Statements of policy obtained herein are not made
for the purpose of inducing any person to become or remain an employee of UW Health, and should not
be considered "promises" or as granting "property" rights. UW Health may add to, subtract from and/or
modify this Policy at any time. Nothing contained in this Policy impairs the right of an employee or UW
Health to terminate the employment relationship at-will.
Administrative Policy 4.34-Patient Rights and Responsibilities
Administrative Policy 9.15-Employee Assistance Program
Senior Management Sponsor: VP, Human Resources Operations
Author: Director, Employee Relations; Director, Nursing Services
Approval Committee: UW Health Administrative Policy and Procedure Committee
UW Health Chief Administrative Officer
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