How Nurses and physicians face ethical dilemmas — the Croatian experience

Nursing Ethics 18 (3):341-355 (2011)
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The aim of this study was to assess nurses’ and physicians’ ethical dilemmas in clinical practice. Nurses and physicians of the Clinical Hospital Centre Rijeka were surveyed (N = 364). A questionnaire was used to identify recent ethical dilemma, primary ethical issue in the situation, satisfaction with the resolution, perceived usefulness of help, and usage of clinical ethics consultations in practice. Recent ethical dilemmas include professional conduct for nurses (8%), and near-the-end-of-life decisions for physicians (27%). The main ethical issue is limiting life-sustaining therapy (nurses 15%, physicians 24%) and euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide (nurses 16%, physicians 9%). The types of help available are similar for nurses and physicians: obtaining complete information about the patient (37% vs. 50%) and clarifying ethical issues (31% vs. 39%). Nurses and physicians experience similar ethical dilemmas in clinical practice. The usage of clinical ethics consultations is low. It is recommended that the individual and team consultations should be introduced in Croatian clinical ethics consultations services



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George Agich
Bowling Green State University