This article examines clinical wisdom, which has emerged from a broader study about nurse managers' influence on proficient registered nurse turnover and retention. The purpose of the study was to increase understanding of proficient nurses' experience and clinical practice by giving voice to the nurses themselves, and to look for differences in their practice. This was a qualitative study based on semistructured interviews followed by analysis founded on Gadamerian hermeneutics. The article describes how proficient nurses experience their practice. Proficient practice constitutes clinical wisdom based on responsibility, thinking and ethical discernment, and a drive for action. The study showed that poor working conditions cause proficient nurses to regress to non-proficient performance. Further studies are recommended to allow deeper searching into the area of working conditions and their relationship to lack of nurse proficiency.
Caring for dying children presents special challenges, according to the children themselves, their relatives and healthcare professionals.
The aim of this study was to describe caring as represented in healthcare workers' experiences of caring for dying children.
A phenomenological approach was chosen, in-depth interviews were carried out and data were analysed in four steps focusing on (a) open reading, (b) meaning units, (c) constituents and (d) essence.
Four nurses in a general acute paediatric care setting in Sweden participated after providing written informed consent. Voluntary participation and confidentiality were ensured, and the study was ethically approved.
The essence of caring for dying children was likened to a musically attuned composition, comprising five constituents: presence, self-knowledge, injustice in dying, own suffering and in need of others. Presence was found to be a prerequisite for caring when a child is dying. Self-knowledge and support from others can be of help when struggling with emotional pain and injustice.
Caring for dying children has been found to be a delicate task for healthcare workers all over the world, and the ethical dimension is emphasized in international research. In this study, emotional pain and suffering accompanied caring, but an atmosphere in which it is possible to give and get support from colleagues and to have time to grieve and time to focus on the patient's needs may ease the burden, as can having time to process thoughts about life and death, and a possibility to grow in self-knowledge.
Caring in ethically demanding situations may be facilitated through presence, atmosphere, self-knowledge and time. The challenge does not demand highly technological solutions; these assets are readily available, no matter where on earth. However, there is a need to further investigate these prerequisites for caring, particularly when a child is dying.
In Sweden, individuals affected by severe stroke are treated in specialized stroke units. In these units, patients are attended by a multiprofessional team with a focus on care in the acute phase of stroke, rehabilitation phase, and palliative phase. Caring for patients with such a large variety in condition and symptoms might be an extra challenge for the team. Today, there is a lack of knowledge in team experiences of the dilemmas that appear and the consequences that emerge. Therefore, the purpose of this article was to study ethical dilemmas, different approaches, and what consequences they had among healthcare professionals working with the dying patients with stroke in acute stroke units. Forty-one healthcare professionals working in a stroke team were interviewed either in focus groups or individually. The data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using content analysis. The ethical dilemmas that appeared were depending on "nondecisions" about palliative care or discontinuation of treatments. The lack of decision made the team members act based on their own individual skills, because of the absence of common communication tools. When a decision was made, the healthcare professionals had "problems holding to the decision." The devised and applied plans could be revalued, which was described as a setback to nondecisions again. The underlying problem and theme was "communication barriers," a consequence related to the absence of common skills and consensus among the value system. This study highlights the importance of palliative care knowledge and skills, even for patients experiencing severe stroke. To make a decision and to hold on to that is a presupposition in creating a credible care plan. However, implementing a common set of values based on palliative care with symptom control and quality of life might minimize the risk of the communication barrier that may arise and increases the ability to create a healthcare that is meaningful and dignified.
The purpose of this article is to describe the ethical issues arising out of participatory action research (PAR), on the basis of both an empirical study and the research literature, and to discuss how to deal with these issues. The data consist of the experiences and results of three phases of PAR relating to orthopaedic patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and the analysis of 20 articles on the ethics of action research. As a result, the following ethical issues and the ways to treat them were discussed: informed consent, confidentiality and anonymity, protecting an individual from harm, the role of the researcher, the location of 'power' in PAR, and the ownership of the research. The flexibility of PAR in use and its main features are also related to the decisions made and actions taken in response to ethical issues. It is particularly important in PAR to proceed according to the participants, and to involve them from the beginning of the process, in order to insure the equal balance of power between participants and researcher.
Studies among physicians and nurses in paediatric care reveal experiences of loneliness and lack of open dialogue. The aim of this study was to illuminate the meaning of female Registered Nurses' lived experience of being in ethically difficult care situations in paediatric care. Twenty female Registered Nurses who had experienced being in ethically difficult care situations in paediatric care were interviewed as part of a comprehensive investigation into the narratives of male and female nurses and physicians about being in such situations. The transcribed interview texts were subjected to phenomenological-hermeneutic interpretation. The results showed that nurses appreciated social confirmation from their colleagues, patients and parents very much. This was a conditioned confirmation that was given when they performed the tasks expected from them. The nurses, however, felt that something was missing. They missed self-confirmation from their conscience. This gave them an identity problem. They were regarded as good care providers but at the same time, their conscience reminded them of not taking care of all the 'uninteresting' patients. This may be understood as ethics of memory where their conscience 'set them a test'. The emotional pain nurses felt was about remembering the children they overlooked, about bad conscience and lack of self-confirmation. Nurses felt lonely because of the lack of open dialogue about ethically difficulties, for example, between colleagues and about their feeling that the wrong things were prioritized in the clinics. In this study, problems arose when nurses complied with the unspoken rules and routines without discussing the ethical challenges in their caring culture. The rules and the routines of the caring culture represented structural barriers for creating open dialogue and an ethically justifiable practice, called inauthentic existence, blindness related to our own inauthentic understanding, which focuses on the routines, rules, theories and systems.
Five enrolled nurses (ENs) were interviewed as part of a comprehensive investigation into the narratives of registered nurses, ENs and patients about their experiences in an acute care ward. The ward opened in 1997 and provides patient care for a period of up to three days, during which time a decision has to be made regarding further care elsewhere or a return home. The ENs were interviewed concerning their experience of being in ethically difficult care situations and of acute care work. The method of phenomenological-hermeneutic interpretation inspired by the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur was used. The most prominent feature was the focus on relationships, as expressed in concern for society's and administrators' responsibility for health care and the care of older people. Other themes focus on how nurse managers respond to the ENs' work as well as their relationships with fellow ENs, in both work situations and shared social and sports activities. Their reflections seem to show an expectation of care as expressed in their lived experiences and their desire for a particular level and quality of care for their own family members. A lack of time could lead to a bad conscience over the 'little bit extra' being omitted. This lack of time could also lead to tiredness and even burnout, but the system did not allow for more time.
Five registered nurses were interviewed as part of a comprehensive investigation by five researchers into the narratives of five enrolled nurses (study 1, published in Nursing Ethics 2004), five registered nurses (study 2) and 10 patients (study 3) describing their experiences in an acute care ward at one university hospital in Sweden. The project was developed at the Centre for Nursing Science at Orebro University Hospital. The ward in question was opened in 1997 and provides care for a period of up to three days, during which time a decision has to be made regarding further care elsewhere or a return home. The registered nurses were interviewed concerning their experience of being in ethically difficult care situations in their work. Interpretation of the theme 'ethical problems' was left to the interviewees to reflect upon. A phenomenological hermeneutic method (inspired by the French philosopher Paul Ricoeur) was used in all three studies. The most prominent feature revealed was the enormous responsibility present. When discussing their responsibility, their working environment and their own reactions such as stress and conscience, the registered nurses focused on the patients and the possible negative consequences for them, and showed what was at stake for the patients themselves. The nurses demonstrated both directly and indirectly what they consider to be good nursing practices. They therefore demand very high standards of themselves in their interactions with their patients. They create demands on themselves that they believe to be identical to those expected by patients.
The aim of this study was to describe nurses' conceptions of decision making with regard to life-sustaining treatment for dialysis patients. Semistructured interviews were conducted with 13 nurses caring for such patients at three hospitals. The interview material was subjected to qualitative content analysis. The nurses saw decision making as being characterized by uncertainty and by lack of communication and collaboration among all concerned. They described different ways of handling decision making, as well as insufficiency of physician-nurse collaboration, lack of confidence in physicians, hindrances to patient participation, and ambivalence about the role of patients' next of kin. Future research should test models for facilitating communication and decision making so that decisions will emerge from collaboration of all concerned. Nurses' role in decision making also needs to be discussed.
The purpose of this study was to describe Finnish psychiatric nurses' ethical perceptions about coercive measures in acute psychiatric setting.
The data were collected with a questionnaire developed for this study. The sample included 170 Finnish psychiatric nurses on acute wards in five psychiatric hospitals. The data were analysed using frequency and percentage distributions, mean and standard deviations. The internal consistency of the instrument was explored with Cronbach's alpha. The association between the background variables and the sum score of the items of the questionnaire was tested with Mann-Whitney U-test and Kruskal-Wallis test. The open-ended question was analysed with content analysis.
Some psychiatric nurses perceived coercive measures as ethically problematic. In particular, the implementation of forced medication (18%), four-point restraints (16%) and patient seclusion (11%) were perceived as ethically problematic. Female nurses and nurses who worked on closed wards perceived the measures to be more problematic than male nurses and nurses who did not work on closed wards.
In Finland, special attention has been paid to ethical questions related to the care of psychiatric patients and to the enhancement of patients' rights, yet the majority of the nurses participating in the survey did not perceive coercive measures as ethically problematic. More research on this issue as well as further education of the personnel and more extensive teaching of ethics in nursing schools are needed to support the ability of the psychiatric personnel to identify ethically problematic situations. In addition, it is important to consider new measures for generating genuine moral reflection among the personnel on the usage of coercive measures as well as on their effectiveness and legitimacy in the psychiatric care.
The concept of suffering is discussed among those who are cognitively aware and verbally capable to express their suffering. Due to immaturity, preterm infants' abilities to express suffering are limited. Relieving suffering is an ethical and juridical demand of good nursing care. The purpose of this study is to describe nurses' perceptions of the suffering of preterm infants. A descriptive qualitative approach was selected. Data were collected from essays written by nurses (n = 19) working in the neonatal intensive care unit. Inductive content analysis guided by the research question was performed. The nurses described individually determined suffering of the preterm infants according to four categories: suffering ruled by maturation, existence of suffering, individual threshold of suffering and interpreting the cues of suffering. Suffering of preterm infants is manifested by population-specific features, emphasising the need to develop sensitive interventions for relieving their suffering.