Ethics and Research into Nursing Practice
In discussion of the ethical issues which relate to nursing practice research, of central concern is the research approach used to develop and/or test our nursing therapy, namely, experimental research using patients/clients as human subjects. I am making the assumption that the major thrust in nursing practice research is to establish the scientific basis of practice through both advancing our understanding of practice and exploring the worth or “value” of the therapy we advocate, i. e., research to test the effectiveness of our nursing assessment/diagnosis and delivery of care. Given this framework, I want first to identify the main ethical issues underlying the use of human subjects in experimentation, then in discussion I shall attempt to establish how far codes of behavior guiding nursing research cover the issues, looking at the same time at the safeguards needed to ensure that nursing practice research is carried out with due regard to a recognized ethical code.
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