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Conflicts of Conscience in Neonatal Intensive Care Units: Perspectives of Neonatal Nurses in Alberta

  • Author / Creator
    Ford, Natalie J
  • The aim of this study was to explore the individual experiences of conflict of conscience for neonatal nurses in Alberta. Interpretive description, a qualitative method, was selected for its value to help situate the findings in a meaningful clinical context. The findings of five interviews with neonatal nurses working in NICUs throughout Alberta illuminated three common themes: the unforgettable conflict with pain and suffering, finding the nurse’s voice, and the unique proximity of nurses. When the nurses witnessed undermanaged pain and perceived unnecessary suffering they experienced both emotional and physical distress. The nurses felt guilty, sad, hopeless, and powerless when they were unable to follow their conscience. Informal ways to follow their conscience were employed before declaring a conscientious objection was considered. This study highlights the vital importance of respecting a conflict of conscience for neonatal nurses and exposes the complexities of conscientious objection in the NICU.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    2012-06
  • Type of Item
    Thesis
  • Degree
    Master of Nursing
  • DOI
    https://doi.org/10.7939/R3X088
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.
  • Language
    English
  • Institution
    University of Alberta
  • Degree level
    Master's
  • Department
    • Faculty of Nursing
  • Supervisor / co-supervisor and their department(s)
    • Byrne, Paul (Faculty of Medicine)
    • Austin, Wendy (Faculty of Nursing)
  • Examining committee members and their departments
    • Sellman, Derek (Faculty of Nursing)
    • Truscott, Derek (Department of Education)