Responses to all questions were gathered together and coded into themes, with three prominent emerging themes—ethical sensitivity, everyday ethics, and ethical reflection—with some overlap between the themes.
Increased ethical sensitivity
Some respondents perceived the training to help them to develop an awareness of ethical concepts and enabled them to make connections between the ethical concepts and their duties in the laboratory. For example, when asked how the training related to and supported the individuals in their work, respondents claimed:
‘Understanding more what ethics is and the impacts it may have in my job’.
‘Bringing ethics to the front of my mind and actively linking ethics to my role’.
‘It made me think about how ethics underpins my job’.
Together these quotes illustrate that having the training helped staff appreciate the ethical aspects of their work. By becoming more ethically sensitive attendees were able to realise why certain considerations and decisions are important in their roles. The following quotes are in response to how the training supported laboratory staff in their work:
‘Reminding me of the foundation of some of my working patterns and why I make the decisions I do’.
‘Good to remember why we behave how we do following our ethical principles’.
‘Allowed us to think about how ethics influences our work - easily forgotten’.
‘Reminds us why we do things in certain ways’.
Furthermore, when explaining how the training related to their work, other respondents said:
‘In order to be able to deliver the right outcome by following what is good and right and not what suits me’.
‘Carrying out routine work day to day can make you lose sight of the end role - it was good to see that I do always think about the right thing’.
These responses show that by developing ethical sensitivity in the attendees, the training helped act as a reminder for the laboratory staff of the purpose of their work. In essence, the training allowed attendees to increase their understanding and awareness of how ethics informs and influences their work. By doing so, the training helped reinforce the importance of the work laboratory staff do and why acting ethically is so vital.
Recognising the ‘everyday’ ethics
Participants were more aware of the general ethical aspects of their work, and significantly were also able to recognise the ways in which ethics affects their decision making in their common and recurring practices. For some attendees the most beneficial aspect of the training was having the chance to consider the role ethics plays in their daily duties, as the following quotes illustrate:
‘Having the possibility to summarise in my mind the ethics values and how I try everyday to uphold them’.
‘Understanding how I use ethics every day without realising’.
‘Being able to relate the topics we spoke about back to the work I do every day’.
These responses illustrate how the ethics training encouraged the participants to identify the ethical challenges they face in their day to day work, something that they may not have been aware of previously. When asked how the training supported the individuals in their work, three participants replied:
‘Brings more awareness to activities you deem are ‘normal’ to do every day’.
‘How ethics are a part of everyday working life’.
‘Getting me to really think about how ethics affects everything I do’.
By increasing ethical sensitivity, it appears attendees were able to evaluate what they perceived as routine daily work and thereby appreciate how ethics has shaped what they do and why. Similarly, some laboratory staff stated that they felt the training provided them with an opportunity to recapture the importance of ethics in their daily duties:
‘It has reminded me about what I feel is important to me in my everyday work’.
‘A useful reminder of how ethics is a part of my day to day job’.
Some laboratory professionals identified particular activities in their day to day work that they perceived the ethics training applied to and promoted, namely ‘work prioritisation’, ‘working within quality management’ and ‘working closely with patient information’. Furthermore, when replying to how the training related to their work, one participant described an appreciation for the way in which ethics impacts daily decision making in relation to coworkers and patients:
‘It affects everyday work even in minor ways as we are always making ethical decisions that affect our colleagues or patients’.
It appeared therefore that the ethics training encouraged laboratory staff to recognise the ways in which ethics played a key role in many of their day to day activities.
A time for reflection
A number of participants felt the training session provided a much needed opportunity for them to reflect on their work. Staff were reminded of the vital nature of their work and how their role contributes to patient care. In response to how the training supported the individuals in their work, some laboratory staff reported:
‘Puts into perspective our role in the link of healthcare between medical professional and patient/donor’.
‘As a reminder of what we should do for the wellbeing of others’.
The value of having time and space to reflect on their working practices was highlighted by several participants as the most beneficial aspect of the training:
‘It has helped me remember what I came into work for, as it can be easy to forget. I love conversations that require deep thought’.
‘It has helped me sit back and really think about the impact that my job has’.
‘Been really fascinating. Time to think and focus on what we do on autopilot’.
Participants also perceived they benefited from being able to discuss their views with other members of the group. For example, one respondent stated that for them the most beneficial aspect of the training was, ‘The opportunity of understanding other people’s vision and their principles’. The training therefore appeared to facilitate laboratory staff to reflect on their personal views, as well as the ethical perspectives of their colleagues. By fostering conversations that may not otherwise have taken place, the training highlighted the importance of providing laboratory professionals with a space to discuss and reflect upon the ethical aspects to their work.