TITLE

Ethical challenges in neonatal intensive care nursing

AUTHOR(S)
Strandås, Maria; Fredriksen, Sven-Tore D.
PUB. DATE
December 2015
SOURCE
Nursing Ethics;Dec2015, Vol. 22 Issue 8, p901
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
Background: Neonatal nurses report a great deal of ethical challenges in their everyday work. Seemingly trivial everyday choices nurses make are no more value-neutral than life-and-death choices. Everyday ethical challenges should also be recognized as ethical dilemmas in clinical practice. Research objective: The purpose of this study is to investigate which types of ethical challenges neonatal nurses experience in their day-to-day care for critically ill newborns. Research design: Data were collected through semi-structured qualitative in-depth interviews. Phenomenological-hermeneutic analysis was applied to interpret the data. Participants and research context: Six nurses from neonatal intensive care units at two Norwegian hospitals were interviewed on-site. Ethical considerations: The study is designed to comply with Ethical Guidelines for Nursing Research in the Nordic Countries and the Helsinki declaration. Findings: Findings suggest that nurses experience a diverse range of everyday ethical challenges related to challenging interactions with parents and colleagues, emotional strain, protecting the vulnerable infant, finding the balance between sensitivity and authority, ensuring continuity of treatment, and miscommunication and professional disagreement. Discussion: A major finding in this study is how different agents involved in caring for the newborn experience their realities differently. When these realities collide, ethical challenges arise. Findings suggest that acting in the best interests of the child becomes more difficult in situations involving many agents with different perceptions of reality. Conclusion: The study presents new aspects which increases knowledge and understanding of the reality of nursing in a neonatal intensive care unit, while also demanding increased research in this field of care.
ACCESSION #
111995582

 

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