Ethical decision making in an acute medical ward: Australian findings on dealing with conflict and tension

Ethics and Behavior 16 (3):233 – 252 (2006)
It is now common in health care for a diverse range of professions and disciplines to work together in regular and close contact. Thus, there are now calls in the literature for research that documents insights on the ethical dimension of multidisciplinary relationships. Recent Australian research has responded to this call by examining how a multidisciplinary team of health professionals define and operationalize the notion of ethics in an acute ward hospital setting. This article provides findings from the research study that indicate that, although there is a shared conceptualization of ethics as "patient-centered care", there can be times of conflict and tension in determining what is best for the patient. The discussion begins to build an understanding of how a multidisciplinary mix of health professionals responds to ethical conflict and tension. The authors' hope and expectation is that, by keeping the research focus on what health professionals in a multidisciplinary team (MDT) actually do, rather than exclusively on how they philosophically think about ethical dilemmas, the insights can be translated into practical strategies that can be utilized to strengthen the process of ethical decision making within the health care system.
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DOI 10.1207/s15327019eb1603_4
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