Journal List > J Korean Acad Nurs Adm > v.19(5) > 1051721

Jeong, Park, and Jeong: Case Development on Nurses' Ethical Dilemmas with Physicians' and Nurses' Decision Making



This study was done to develop a realistic clinical case and investigate nurses' decision-making about nurses' ethical dilemmas with physicians in the fields of nursing practice.


Case development and a hypothetical case study were used. Participants were 52 nurses. Data were collected in 2012 and 2013 using an open-ended questionnaire and interviews and analyzed using content analysis and descriptive statistics.


Various dilemma situations between nurses and physicians, such as violence, deathbed, medication·prescription, and physicians' incapacity·unfairness, were suggested. A clinical dilemma case about medication·prescription was developed based on nurses' experiences. Nurses' responses to the developed case situation and responses were classified into five types. Various reasons were given for making the decisions and about 56% of the nurses decided to notify their supervisor without deleting nursing records.


In this study, a realistic clinical dilemma case was developed, and nurses' ethical decision making was identified. These findings can be used in developing effective strategies for nurses to solve ethical dilemmas and to improve ethical decision-making abilities.

Figures and Tables

Table 1
Situations of Ethical Dilemma between Nurses and Physicians (N=15)*

*Multiple answers possible.

Table 2
Coping Types according to Situation of Ethical Dilemma (N=15)*

*Multiple answers possible.

Table 3
Content Validity Index based on Analysis Criteria for Problem Selection of PBL (N=8)

PBL=Problem-based learning; CVI=Content Validity Index.

Total CVI: 0.85.

Table 4
General Characteristics of Participants (N=34)
Table 5
Decision Making Reason for Coping (N=34)

PS=Patient safety; OP=Obligation of the profession; NDO=Not making a decision by oneself; PPD=Primary physician's duty; NR=No response


This paper was supported by research funds of Chonbuk National University in 2013.


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