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Study Examines Aspects of Conscientious Objection among Nurses

One-on-one interviews with eight nurses in Ontario revealed that nurses making conscientious objections to ethically-relevant policies lack concrete supports and need protection in healthcare practice settings.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018 12:01 am EDT
"Importantly, conversations about conscience and conscientious objection need to occur on a routine basis in healthcare practice, so that respect for the human right to conscience becomes a forerunner in ethical conversations for healthcare professionals."

One-on-one interviews with eight nurses in Ontario revealed that nurses making conscientious objections to ethically-relevant policies lack concrete supports and need protection in healthcare practice settings.

The authors of the Journal of Advanced Nursing study noted that healthcare practice is becoming more ethically complex, and nurses need to be able to address their issues of conscience to care that they ethically disagree with. For Canadian nurses, this need has been recently heightened by the national legalization of euthanasia, known as Medical Assistance in Dying in Canada.

“The situation of euthanasia in Canada highlights the need to attend to the freedom of conscience for nurses and all healthcare professionals. As voiced by nurses in this study who are experiencing conflicts of conscience in professional settings, freedom of conscience clauses is paramount to supporting healthcare professionals to practice with clear boundaries in supportive workplace environments where their conscientious objections are inclusively respected,” said primary author Dr. Christina Lamb. “Importantly, conversations about conscience and conscientious objection need to occur on a routine basis in healthcare practice, so that respect for the human right to conscience becomes a forerunner in ethical conversations for healthcare professionals.”

Additional Information

Link to Study: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jan.13869

About Journal

The Journal of Advanced Nursing (JAN) contributes to the advancement of evidence-based nursing, midwifery and healthcare by disseminating high quality research and scholarship of contemporary relevance and with potential to advance knowledge for practice, education, management or policy.

All JAN papers are required to have a sound scientific, evidential, theoretical or philosophical base and to be critical, questioning and scholarly in approach.  As an international journal, JAN promotes diversity of research and scholarship in terms of culture, paradigm and healthcare context.  For JAN’s worldwide readership, authors are expected to make clear the wider international relevance of their work and to demonstrate sensitivity to cultural considerations and differences.

The majority of papers in JAN are written by nurses and midwives but there are no constraints on authorship as long as papers fit with the expressed Aims and Scope.

JAN‘s intended readership includes practising nurses and midwives in all spheres and at all levels who are committed to advancing practice and professional development on the basis of new knowledge and evidence; managers and senior members of the nursing and midwifery professions; nurse educators and nursing students; and researchers in other disciplines with interest in common issues and inter-disciplinary collaboration. Papers published in JAN are increasingly cited in reviews of evidence and used by other healthcare professionals, policy-makers, commissioners and users of services to inform their decision-making and practice.

About Wiley

Wiley is a global leader in education and scholarly research. Our online scientific, technical, medical, and scholarly journals, combined with our digital learning, assessment and certification solutions help universities, learned societies, businesses, governments and individuals increase the academic and professional impact of their work. For more than 210 years, we have delivered consistent performance to our stakeholders. The company's website can be accessed at www.wiley.com.


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