Meeting Ethical Challenges in Acute Care Work as Narrated by Enrolled Nurses
Larsson Kihlgren, Annica
Nursing Ethics 2004 March; 11(2): 179-188
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.
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