TITLE

Information Disclosure: the moral experience of nurses in China

AUTHOR(S)
Pang, M-c.
PUB. DATE
July 1998
SOURCE
Nursing Ethics;Jul98, Vol. 5 Issue 4, p347
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
While the movement to ensure patient’s rights to information and informed consent spreads throughout the world, patient rights of this kind have yet to be introduced in mainland China. Nonetheless, China is no different from other parts of the world in that nurses are expected to shoulder the responsibility of safeguarding patients’ best interests and at the same time to uphold their right to information. This paper expounds on the principle of protectiveness grounded in traditional Chinese medical ethics concerning the practice of informed consent. Nurses in China have a moral obligation to treat patients with sincerity. This notion carries a strong sense of parental protectiveness. As far as information-giving is concerned, nurses in China are ambivalent about the notion of truthfulness. The findings of an empirical study undertaken in seven Chinese cities reveal that nurses in China experience similar difficulties related to the disclosure of information as their counterparts in other parts of the world. A nurse’s narrative, the Chan case, is used to illustrate the typical difficult situation that nurses in China often encounter in looking after vulnerable patients who would like to learn more about their therapeutic regimens. The moral tension embedded in nursing practice is analysed. It is found that most nurses would prefer to tell the truth to patients, but their primary ethical justification is not that of respect for patients’ autonomy or safeguarding patients’ right to self-determination. Rather, it is basically beneficent in nature; that is, they base their decision to reveal the truth on whether or not patients will receive more relevant treatment and better nursing care.
ACCESSION #
5396278

 

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