Physicians' and nurses' expectations and objections toward a clinical ethics committee

Nursing Ethics 20 (7):0969733013478308 (2013)
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The study aimed to explore the subjective need of healthcare professionals for ethics consultation, their experience with ethical conflicts, and expectations and objections toward a Clinical Ethics Committee. Staff at a university hospital took part in a survey (January to June 2010) using a questionnaire with open and closed questions. Descriptive data for physicians and nurses (response rate = 13.5%, n = 101) are presented. Physicians and nurses reported similar high frequencies of ethical conflicts but rated the relevance of ethical issues differently. Nurses stated ethical issues as less important to physicians than to themselves. Ethical conflicts were mostly discussed with staff from one’s own profession. Respondents predominantly expected the Clinical Ethics Committee to provide competent support. Mostly, nurses feared it might have no influence on clinical practice. Findings suggest that experiences of ethical conflicts might reflect interprofessional communication patterns. Expectations and objections against Clinical Ethics Committees were multifaceted, and should be overcome by providing sufficient information. The Clinical Ethics Committee needs to take different perspectives of professions into account



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