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ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 92-97

Learning Objects? Nurse Educators' Views on Using Patients for Student Learning : Ethics and Consent


HESAS, University of Glamorgan, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
C Torrance
HESAS, University of Glamorgan, Pontypridd, CF37 1DL
United Kingdom
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1357-6283.103455

Introduction: This study explored the views of nursing lecturers concerning the use of patients in nursing education, particularly in light of the development of additional learning opportunities such as clinical simulation. Methods: Focus group interviews involving 19 educators from one school of nursing in the United Kingdom were held. An interview schedule was developed by the study team from the findings of a focused literature review of the area. The focus groups were audio-taped and transcribed into NVivo (version 8) for analysis and identification of emergent themes. Results: Four major categories emerged from the data analysis: clinical placement; patient consent; educator conflict; and developing competency. The themes of clinical placement and patient consent are presented in this paper. Clinical placement revealed two sub-themes: historical custom and practice and safety. Four sub-themes emerged from the theme of patient consent: informed consent; implied consent; capacity to consent; and patients' value of student involvement in their care. Discussion: Educators believed that patients benefit from being cared for by well-qualified nurses and to achieve this it is necessary for patients to participate in clinical training. The predominant view seemed to be one of historical necessity; essentially, it has always been done that way so it has to continue that way. There was an awareness of the need for staff and students to consider the patient's rights and wishes, but the prevailing sentiment seemed to be that informed consent and choice were secondary to patient safety and the need to train student nurses. There is some conflict between the need for educating health professions and the Kantian view of never using the patients as a means to an end. Using patients for nursing education may be ethical as long as the patient is fully informed and involved in the decision-making process.


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