Doctors' and nurses' attitudes towards neonatal ethical decision making in Ireland

M. C. Samaan, M. Cuttini, V. Casotto, C. A. Ryan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To explore the clinical staff attitudes towards ethical decision making in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Ireland, to establish differences between doctors and nurses and to compare attitudes in Ireland with those in Europe. Design: Cross-sectional study by means of an anonymous questionnaire. 64 doctors and 228 nurses in seven NICUs participated (response rates 74% and 81%, respectively). Through factor analysis the staff answers to 12 attitude statements were used to build a score whose range varied from 0 (preservation of life in any case) to 10, indicating a more individualised approach according to the patient's best interests. Main outcome measure: Staff attitudes to ethical decision making in NICU. Results: Mean values of attitude scores were 5.8 (95% CI 5.3 to 6.2) for doctors, and 6.0 (95% CI 5.5 to 6.5) for nurses. Respondents with experience in follow-up of NICU graduates had significantly higher scores (6.7 vs 5.4, p = 0.018), while the opposite was true among more religious staff (5.8 vs 6.9, p = 0.026) and particularly for minority religions such as Muslim (4.1, 95% CI 3.1 to 5.2). Scores were higher after age 30 for nurses, and after age 40 for doctors, suggesting the adoption of a less vitalistic viewpoint as respondents grow older and more experienced. Among doctors, a relationship was found between the attitude score and their self-reported non-treatment practices. Conclusions: In Ireland, NICU doctors and nurses hold similar attitudes towards ethical decision making. Personal and professional factors have a statistically significant impact on attitude score. Compared with the rest of Europe, attitudes in Ireland appear more similar to those of southern rather than northern European countries.

Original languageEnglish
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition
Volume93
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

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Ireland
Decision Making
Neonatal Intensive Care Units
Nurses
Attitude of Health Personnel
Islam
Religion
Statistical Factor Analysis
Cross-Sectional Studies
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)
Surveys and Questionnaires

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Doctors' and nurses' attitudes towards neonatal ethical decision making in Ireland. / Samaan, M. C.; Cuttini, M.; Casotto, V.; Ryan, C. A.

In: Archives of Disease in Childhood: Fetal and Neonatal Edition, Vol. 93, No. 3, 05.2008.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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abstract = "Objective: To explore the clinical staff attitudes towards ethical decision making in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs) in Ireland, to establish differences between doctors and nurses and to compare attitudes in Ireland with those in Europe. Design: Cross-sectional study by means of an anonymous questionnaire. 64 doctors and 228 nurses in seven NICUs participated (response rates 74{\%} and 81{\%}, respectively). Through factor analysis the staff answers to 12 attitude statements were used to build a score whose range varied from 0 (preservation of life in any case) to 10, indicating a more individualised approach according to the patient's best interests. Main outcome measure: Staff attitudes to ethical decision making in NICU. Results: Mean values of attitude scores were 5.8 (95{\%} CI 5.3 to 6.2) for doctors, and 6.0 (95{\%} CI 5.5 to 6.5) for nurses. Respondents with experience in follow-up of NICU graduates had significantly higher scores (6.7 vs 5.4, p = 0.018), while the opposite was true among more religious staff (5.8 vs 6.9, p = 0.026) and particularly for minority religions such as Muslim (4.1, 95{\%} CI 3.1 to 5.2). Scores were higher after age 30 for nurses, and after age 40 for doctors, suggesting the adoption of a less vitalistic viewpoint as respondents grow older and more experienced. Among doctors, a relationship was found between the attitude score and their self-reported non-treatment practices. Conclusions: In Ireland, NICU doctors and nurses hold similar attitudes towards ethical decision making. Personal and professional factors have a statistically significant impact on attitude score. Compared with the rest of Europe, attitudes in Ireland appear more similar to those of southern rather than northern European countries.",
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