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JOURNAL ARTICLE

Characterization of nurses' duty to care and willingness to report

Charleen McNeill, Danita Alfred, Tracy Nash, Jenifer Chilton, Melvin S Swanson
Nursing Ethics 2019 May 21, : 969733019846645
31113285

BACKGROUND: Nurses must balance their perceived duty to care against their perceived risk of harm to determine their willingness to report during disaster events, potentially creating an ethical dilemma and impacting patient care.

RESEARCH AIM: The purpose of this study was to investigate nurses' perceived duty to care and whether there were differences in willingness to respond during disaster events based on perceived levels of duty to care.

RESEARCH DESIGN: A cross-sectional survey research design was used in this study.

PARTICIPANTS AND RESEARCH CONTEXT: Using a convenience sample with a snowball technique, data were collected from 289 nurses throughout the United States in 2017. Participants were recruited through host university websites, Facebook, and an American Nurses Association discussion board.

ETHICAL CONSIDERATIONS: Institutional review board approval was obtained from the University of Texas at Tyler and the University of Arkansas.

FINDINGS: Analysis of willingness to report to work based on levels of perceived duty to care resulted in the emergence of two groups: "lower level of perceived duty to care group" and "higher level of perceived duty to care group." The most discriminating characteristics differentiating the groups included fear of abandonment by co-workers, reporting because it is morally the right thing to, and because of imperatives within the Nursing Code of Ethics.

DISCUSSION: The number of nurses in the lower level of perceived duty to care group causes concern. It is important for nursing management to develop strategies to advance nurses' safety, minimize nurses' risk, and promote nurses' knowledge to confidently work during disaster situations.

CONCLUSION: Level of perceived duty to care affects nurses' willingness to report to work during disasters. Primary indicators of low perceived duty to care are amenable to actionable strategies, potentially increasing nurses' perceived duty to provide care and willingness to report to work during disasters.

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