How to succeed with ethics reflection groups in community healthcare? Professionals’ perceptions

Nursing Ethics 26 (4):1243-1255 (2019)
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Abstract

Background:Healthcare personnel in the municipal healthcare systems experience many ethical challenges in their everyday work. In Norway, 243 municipalities participated in a national ethics project, aimed to increase ethical competence in municipal healthcare services. In this study, we wanted to map out what participants in ethics reflection groups experienced as promoters or as barriers to successful reflection.Objectives:To examine what the staff experience as promoters or as barriers to successful ethics reflection.Research design:The study has a qualitative design, where 56 participants in municipal healthcare participated in 10 different focus-group interviews.Ethical considerations:The data collection was based on the participants’ informed consent and approved by the Data Protection Official of the Norwegian Centre for Research Data.Results:The informants had different experiences from ethics reflection group. Nevertheless, we found that there were several factors that were consistently mentioned: competence, facilitator’s role, ethics reflection groups organizing, and organizational support were all experienced as promoters and as a significant effect on ethics reflection groups. The absence of such factors would constitute important barriers to successful ethics reflection.Discussion:The results are coincident with other studies, and indicate some conditions that may increase the possibility to succeed with ethics reflection groups. A systematic approach seems to be important, the systematics of the actual reflections, but also in the organization of ethics reflection group at the workplace. Community healthcare is characterized by organizational instabilities as many vacancies, high workloads, and lack of predictability. This can be a hinder for ethics reflection group.Conclusion:Both internal and external factors seem to influence the organization of ethics reflection group. The municipalities’ instabilities challenging this work, and perceived as a clear inhibitor for the development. The participants experienced that the facilitator is the most important success factor for establishing, carrying out, and to succeed with ethics reflection groups.

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