Informed Consent in Research: An Overview for Nurses

Banner, D.; Zimmer, L.
January 2012
Canadian Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing;2012, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p26
Academic Journal
Nurses are assuming greater involvement in research and require a good understanding of the ethical principles and processes that underpin research. An individual's right to self-determination and autonomy is a core consideration in research. Informed consent is the process through which an individual voluntarily agrees to an intervention, treatment or participation in research following consideration of the associated risks and benefits. Informed consent processes are an everyday part of nursing practice. However, gaining and supporting patients to give informed consent for research is complex and requires skill. A nurse may be involved in the informed consent process either directly, as a researcher or member of a research team, or indirectly, as a caregiver advocating for and supporting patients considering participation in a study. It is important that nurses understand the ethical principles for obtaining a valid informed consent in research. This includes the clear and accurate disclosure of information, assessment of decisional capacity and the promotion of voluntarism. Understanding and responding to these issues and criteria are important in maintaining client safety, dignity and respect and are essential to the development of high-quality, ethically sound research that improves health outcomes.


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