Awareness of ethical issues by nursing professionals at a general local hospital in Japan.

Hisako Nakao, Akiko Chishaki, Masayuki Obayashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent years, various ethical issues have arisen in the field of medical practice because of the dramatic changes in medical technology and diversity among the different population. It is generally believed that nurses often find themselves in ethical dilemmas because of their closeness to their patients. In this study, we examined nursing professionals' awareness about ethical issues and examined their responses to them at a general hospital performing important roles in the Chugoku district in Japan. The subjects consisted of 335 nurses working at this hospital. An anonymous self-administrated questionnaire was given to them in 2003. As a result, 30-35% of the nurses responded that they were either worried about or were faced with ethical issues when considering specific situations as examples. About 15% of the nurses thought that they were currently worried about or were faced with some ethical issues in practice, which implied a low awareness level of the existence of ethical issues. In terms of their responses to such issues, they usually consulted medical staff members who were directly involved in the case. However, approximately 45% of the nurses reported that no official investigation such as one conducted by an ethics committee, had been conducted regarding such issues, which thus left the problem unsolved. These results suggested that the "subjectivity of nurses" and the "worries and dilemmas of nurses themselves" impacted the nurses' awareness of ethical issues. It appears that further inquiry into ethical issues is needed, with consideration by an ethics committee to better deal with many of the ethical issues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-183
Number of pages9
JournalFukuoka igaku zasshi = Hukuoka acta medica
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)


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