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March 1986

Perceptions of Ethical Problems by Nurses and Doctors

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor. Dr Gramelspacher is now with the Mountain Community Health Center, Coalfield, Tenn.

Arch Intern Med. 1986;146(3):577-578. doi:10.1001/archinte.1986.00360150227027

• To identify how nurses and physicians perceive ethical problems in clinical medicine, we conducted structured interviews with 26 nurses and 24 physicians who work in acute-care units. Both groups thought that they frequently encounter ethical problems, although there was significant variation within each group about how often members of each group perceived such problems. Members of the health-care team often disagreed about ethical decisions. Nurses often described conflicts with physicians, but physicians rarely recognized disagreements with nurses. Clinical ethicists need to be aware of this heterogeneous perception in order to communicate effectively about ethical problems.

(Arch Intern Med 1986;146:577-578)

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