Education And Debate

An Ethical Dilemma: Commentary: Disciplinary processes should not be used to solve ethical problems

BMJ 1996; 313 doi: (Published 16 November 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;313:1251
  1. Jackie Short, senior registrar in forensic psychiatrya,
  2. Gwen Adshead, lecturer in forensic psychiatryb
  1. a Wallingford Clinic, Fairmile Hospital, Oxfordshire
  2. b Institute of Psychiatry, London SE5 8AF

    The report suggests that managerially, it was apparently “wrong” for the nurse to deceive the patient (which justified the final warning) but not “wrong” for the doctor to have ordered the deception. This suggests that the ethical duties of doctors and nurses are perceived as different. However, it seems hard to argue that nurses should be more honest than doctors in their clinical practice unless it is important to protect a tradition of strong medical paternalism.

    The author also raises concerns about a style of nursing management. Some of these concerns are not peculiar to nursing: the …

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