The ethical element of nursing care rationing
What is it about?
Objective: To explore nurses’ experiences and perceptions about prioritizations, omissions, and rationing of bedside nursing care, via focus groups discussions. Four themes were developed based on the data: (a) priorities in the delivery of care; (b) professional roles, responsibilities, and role conflicts; (c) environmental factors influencing care omissions; and (d) perceived outcomes of rationing. Discussion: The delivery of nursing care is framed by the biomedical ethos and inter-professional role conflict while the standards of basic care are jeopardized. Organizational and environmental factors appear to exert significant influence on prioritization. Failure to carry out necessary nursing tasks may lead to adverse patient outcomes, role conflict, and an ethical burden on nurses.
Why is it important?
The aim of this study was to explore the perceptions and experiences of nurses concerning prioritizations, omissions, and rationing of bedside nursing care through focus groups. Based on the findings of an earlier survey with nurses, the intention was to explore rationing in more depth and to gain a better understanding of the pressures and influences guiding nurses’ decisions to ration and give priority to certain care tasks over others. This is one of the only few studies internationally have examined this phenomenon in its ethical context perspective
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