Expanding Nurses' Participation in Ethics: An Empirical Examination of Ethical Activism and Ethical Assertiveness
Jansson, Bruce S.
Nursing Ethics 2004 January; 11(1): 15-27
This research project investigated the extent to which nurses engage in two important kinds of ethical behaviours: ethical activism (where they try to make hospitals more receptive to nurses' participation in ethics deliberations) and ethical assertiveness (where they participate in ethics deliberations even when not formally invited). This research probed not only the extent to which nurses engage in these ethical behaviours but also whether this is influenced by professional, training and organizational factors. A random sample of 165 nurses from three major hospitals in Los Angeles provided the data. Regression analyses indicate that both ethical activism and ethical assertiveness are strongly influenced by nurses' perceptions of the receptivity of hospitals to their inclusion in ethics deliberations. In addition, nurses' education in ethics is a significant predictor of ethical activism. The findings have important implications for the content of nurses' ethics training as well as for expanding the boundaries of nurses' participation in ethics deliberations. The authors define ethics deliberations as specific meetings of a number of people to discuss an ethical issue, such as one regarding the care of a patient.
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