Ethical issues encountered in a research study of the palliative care needs of patients with a non-cancer diagnosis.

Bridie Conway, Deirdre Mullan, Donna Fitzsimons

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Abstract

Introduction: Nurses conducting research in
palliative care frequently encounter ethically
challenging situations due to the vulnerability of
participants and sensitivity of the subject matter.
These issues must be carefully analysed if the
decisions taken are to be in the best interests of
participants, researchers and society.

Aim: The purpose of this paper is to discuss the
ethical conflicts and decisions undertaken in the
course of a combined qualitative and quantitative
study of the palliative care needs of patients with
a non-cancer diagnosis.

Objectives: I. To discuss the ethical issues which
were encountered in the course of this study. II. To
increase nurse reseachers’ understanding of the
professional conflict which may be incurred in such
research.

Issues: In this paper we contend that the researcher’s
professional background influenced:
• The consent process – with all participants
consenting to the study,
• The trusting relationship developed with participants
• The rich and sensitive nature of the data generated
from interviews. This had repercussions because,
despite having gained ethical approval for a noninterventional
study, the researcher felt morally
obliged to respond therapeutically to both
practical and emotional difficulties described by
participants during the course of interviews. We
discuss the extent to which the ethical concepts
of beneficence and non-maleficience applied to
this study. We also explore the nurse-researcher
role conflict inherent in the study and discuss
strategies used to negotiate this.

Conclusions: Nurse researchers frequently
embark on non-interventional research, where
the expectation is that they will gain data without
obvious benefit or harm to the participants. In this
study we found that the professional background
of the research had far-reaching impact on many
aspects of the study and therefore required careful
ethical consideration.
Original languageEnglish
Pages130-130
Publication statusPublished - 2005
EventThe 2005 Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference - Europa Hotel and Spires Conference Centre , Belfast, United Kingdom
Duration: 08 Mar 200511 Mar 2005

Conference

ConferenceThe 2005 Royal College of Nursing International Nursing Research Conference
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityBelfast
Period08/03/200511/03/2005

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