BMC Medical Ethics 17 (1):68 (2016)

BackgroundHealthcare ethics is neglected in clinical practice in LMICs such as Nepal. The main objective of this study was to assess the current status of knowledge, attitude and practice of healthcare ethics among resident doctors and ward nurses in a tertiary teaching hospital in Nepal.MethodsThis was a cross sectional study conducted among resident doctors and ward nurses in the largest tertiary care teaching hospital of Nepal during January- February 2016 with a self-administered questionnaire. A Cramer’s V value was assessed to ascertain the strength of the differences in the variables between doctors and nurses. Association of variables were determined by Chi square and statistical significance was considered if p value was less than 0.05.ResultsOur study demonstrated that a significant proportion of the doctors and nurses were unaware of major documents of healthcare ethics: Hippocratic Oath, Nuremberg code and Helsinki Declaration. A high percentage of respondents said that their major source of information on healthcare ethics were lectures, books, and journals. Attitude of doctors and nurses were significantly different in 9 out of 22 questions pertaining to different aspects of healthcare ethics. More nurses had agreement than doctors on the tested statements pertaining to different aspects of healthcare ethics except for need of integration of medical ethics in ungraduate curricula,paternalistic attitude of doctor was disagreed more by doctors. Notably, only few doctors stood in support of physician-assisted dying.ConclusionsSignificant proportion of doctors and nurses were unaware of three major documents on healthcare ethics which are the core principles in clinical practice. Provided that a high percentage of respondents had motivation for learning medical ethics and asked for inclusion of medical ethics in the curriculum, it is imperative to avail information on medical ethics through subscription of journals and books on ethics in medical libraries in addition to lectures and training at workplace on medical ethics which can significantly improve the current paucity of knowledge on medical ethics.
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DOI 10.1186/s12910-016-0154-9
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