Perceptions of Pediatric Nurses on Ethical Decision Making Processes

Avcı K., Çınaroğlu S., Top M.

SYSTEMIC PRACTICE AND ACTION RESEARCH, vol.30, pp.67-84, 2017 (SSCI) identifier identifier


The purpose of this study was to determine how pediatric nurses decide on ethical issues in sample cases and how they evaluate those issues in terms of ethical principles, as well as to determine the problem-solving approaches that they recommend in this regard. Qualitative methods were used in this study and the data was collected from 100 pediatric nurses using a demographic data form and an open-ended questionnaire. The demographic data form included questions about the characteristics of nurses and their participation in decisions made about ethical issues. Whereas the open-ended questionnaire consisted of questions regarding sample cases, which were developed by the investigators using current literature. Forty-four percent of the pediatric nurses reported an attempt to solve ethical issues that they encountered through their professional experiences using personal values. On the other hand, 53 % of the pediatric nurses stated that their decisions were sometimes taken into consideration in the treatment plan of their own patients, while 49 % reported that they could not participate in decision-making regarding patients' discharge. Seventy-six percent of the pediatric nurses did not define the ethical issues in the three sample cases. However, in other cases, most of the nurses evaluated ethical issues correctly and recommended correct approaches. No statistically significant difference was found between their educational backgrounds, professional experiences, the ethical issues that they evaluated, and the approaches recommended for problem solving. It is recommended that nurses receive more undergraduate and in-service ethics training in order to develop appropriate approaches toward the ethical issues they will encounter during their professional lives.