When considering the principle of medical confidentiality, disclosure of genetic information constitutes a special case because of the impact that this information can have on the health and the lives of relatives. The aim of this study is to explore the attitudes of Turkish physicians and patients about sharing information obtained from genetic tests.
Patient advocacy has been claimed as a new role for professional nurses and many codes of ethics for nurses state that they act as patient advocates. Nursing education is faced with the challenge of preparing nurses for this role. In this article we describe the results of a study that considered the tendencies of a cohort of nursing students at the Kocaeli University School of Nursing to act as advocates and to respect patients’ rights, and how their capacities to do (...) so changed (or not) as a result of their nursing education. This longitudinal study used a questionnaire consisting of 10 statements relating to patient care. It was performed both at the start (1998) and at the end (2002) of the nursing training. At the beginning of their course 77 students participated; in the study. After four years, only 55 students participated, the reason for this drop in number being unknown. The questions asked nurses if patients should have: the right to receive health care; the right to participate in the decision-making process about their treatment; the right always to be told the truth; and the right to have access to their own medical records. They were also asked: if quality of life should be a criterion for discontinuing treatment; if patients have the right to die and the right to refuse treatment; if patients should be assisted to die or helped to undergo active euthanasia; and if severely disabled newborn babies should be allowed to die. The student nurses demonstrated considerable insight into contemporary nursing issues and were ready to act as patient advocates. Professional responsibility demands that good nurses advocate strongly for patients’ choices. (shrink)
In order to prepare bioethics and clinical ethics courses for clinicians in Turkey, we needed to know the attitudes of physicians when placed in ethically difficult care situations. We presented four cases to 207 physicians who are members of the Physicians’ Association in Kocaeli, Turkey. Depending on the decisions they made in each case, we determined whether they were aware of the ethical aspects of the cases and the principles they chose as a basis for their decisions. We aimed to (...) gain information about their ethical tendencies and moral sensitivity. A small number of physicians stated that they would ‘show respect for a patient’s living will’ in the first case, but more stated that they would ‘let the patient refuse the treatment’ in the second. In the third case, where medical confidentiality was the significant ethical issue, most of the physicians said that they would act in order to maintain confidentiality. For the last case, more than half the physicians chose to ‘tell the truth’ to the patient. The paternalism shown in the doctors’ decisions on the first two cases was no longer observed in those made for the last two cases. We concluded that the physicians who participated in our study have low sensitivity to living wills (or advance directives) and patients refusing treatment. However, when issues of medical confidentiality and truth-telling are concerned, they take care to protect the autonomy of the individual and are relatively more aware of the ethical aspects of these cases. (shrink)
The aim of this study was to assess the opinions and role of intensive care unit (ICU) nurses regarding the distribution of ICU beds. We conducted this research among 30% of the attendees at two ICU congresses in Turkey. A self-administered questionnaire was used, which included 13 cases and allocation criteria. Of the total (136 nurses), 53.7% participated in admission/discharge decisions. The most important criterion was quality of life as viewed by the physician; the least important was the patient’s social (...) status. According to the findings, the nurses thought that medical benefit and avoiding discrimination were important. On the other hand their ignorance of patients’ autonomous preferences arouses suspicions about these nurses’ role in advocating for patients’ rights. For this reason, nurses’ role in allocation decisions should be clearly described and should also be the basis on which intensive care nurses’ duties in allocation decisions should be determined. (shrink)
It is important to define and practice ethical rules and codes for professionalisation. Several national and international associations have determined midwifery ethical codes. In Turkey, ethical rules and codes that would facilitate midwifery becoming professionalised have not yet been determined. This study was planned to contribute to the professionalisation of midwifery by determining national ethical values and codes. A total of 1067 Turkish midwives completed the survey. The most prevalent values of Turkish midwives were care for mother–child health, responsibility and (...) professional adequacy. The preferred professional codes chosen by Turkish midwives were absence of conflicts of interest, respect for privacy, avoidance of deception, reporting of faulty practices, consideration of mothers and newborns as separate beings and prevention of harm. In conclusion, cultural values, beliefs and expectations of society cannot be underestimated, although the international professional values and codes of ethics contribute significantly to professionalisation of the midwifery profession. (shrink)
The aim of this study was to assess the attitudes of Turkish pregnant women and antenatal health care providers towards prenatal HIV testing. A self-administered questionnaire was used. The relationships between the different groups' knowledge and attitudes were analysed by using the chi-squared statistic. A total of 494 pregnant women and 181 care providers participated. Forty-four per cent of the pregnant women thought that prenatal HIV testing should be mandatory, and 84% of the health care providers thought it should be (...) performed routinely or be mandatory. The majority of the pregnant women (74%) and half of the care providers agreed that the test results should be disclosed first to the pregnant woman. The study results also revealed that most of the prenatal care providers would not protect pregnant women's autonomy and privacy, contrary to the pregnant women's own preferences. It is essential to establish national prenatal HIV testing policies in order to prevent unethical practices and ensure satisfaction for pregnant women and health care providers. (shrink)