BACKGROUND:In recent years, operating theatre nurse students' education focussed on ethical value issues and how the patient's dignity is respected in the perioperative practice. Health professionals are frequently confronted with ethical issues that can impact on patient's care during surgery.
OBJECTIVE:The objective of this study was to present what operating theatre nurse students experienced and interpreted as preserved dignity in perioperative practice.
RESEARCH DESIGN:The study has a descriptive design with a hermeneutic approach. Data were collected using Flanagan's critical incident technique.
PARTICIPANTS AND RESEARCH CONTEXT:Operating theatre nurse students from Sweden and Norway participated and collected data in 2011, after education in ethics and dignity. Data consisting of 47 written stories and the text were analysed with hermeneutical text interpretation.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS:The study was conducted accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki and approved by a local University Ethics Research Committee. FINDINGS:The findings revealed that students experienced that operating theatre nurses perserved patient's dignity in perioperative practice by being present for each other and making themselves known to the patient. Operating theatre nurses caring for the patient by being compassionate and preserved the patient privacy. The new understanding that emerged was that the operating theatre nurse students understood that the operating theatre nurse wanted to care for the patient like a human being. DISCUSSION:In the discussion, we have illuminated how professional ethics may be threatened by more pragmatic and utilitarian arguments contained in regulations and transplant act. CONCLUSION:Preserved dignity is an ethical and caring act. Ethical questions and how to preserve dignity in perioperative practice should be discussed more both in educations of healthcare professionals and in clinical practice.
2015. Vol. 22, no 6, 676-687 p.
Caring science; hermeneutic; human dignity; operating theatre nurse; perioperative practice