The Role of the Paediatric Nurse in Promoting Paediatric Right to Consent
Orr, Fiona E.
Journal of Clinical Nursing. 1999 May; 8(3): 291-298.
This article examines the processes involved in obtaining informed consent focusing on the abilities and legalities related to a child's right to consent. Most authors who have researched when a child may be considered competent to give a valid consent propose that the child must be 14 years old and thus able to think abstractly and consider the risks and benefits of the planned treatment. Qualitative research on this topic reveals that a child's previous life experiences can influence their ability to comprehend the intervention. This suggests children under 14 years of age may be regarded as competent. The confusion around the prevailing legal situation is examined. The role of the paediatric nurse is explored to distinguish areas in which the nurse could potentially make a contribution to the process of gaining consent from children. The paediatric nurse's role as an assessor, educator and evaluator are identified.
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