Ethical conflicts among physicians and nurses during the COVID‐19 pandemic: A qualitative study

Article


Muñoz‐Quiles, J., Ruiz‐Fernández, M., Hernández-Padilla, J., Granero‐Molina, J., Fernández‐Sola, C. and Ortega‐Galán, Á. 2023. Ethical conflicts among physicians and nurses during the COVID‐19 pandemic: A qualitative study. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice. 29 (1), pp. 117-125. https://doi.org/10.1111/jep.13742
TypeArticle
TitleEthical conflicts among physicians and nurses during the COVID‐19 pandemic: A qualitative study
AuthorsMuñoz‐Quiles, J., Ruiz‐Fernández, M., Hernández-Padilla, J., Granero‐Molina, J., Fernández‐Sola, C. and Ortega‐Galán, Á.
Abstract

Rationale, Aims and Objectives
The healthcare system and professionals working in the sector have experienced a high caseload during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This has increased the potential for morally harmful events that violate professionals' moral codes and values. The aim of this study was to understand and explore experiences of new moral challenges emerging among physicians and nurses caring for individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Method
The consolidated criteria for reporting qualitative research (COREQ) checklist was used in this qualitative study based on Gadamer's phenomenology. Participants were selected using a convenience sampling method. Thirteen medicine and nursing graduates were interviewed in depth. The participants all worked on the frontline at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were gathered in two basic healthcare districts in Spain, encompassing both primary care and hospital care.
Results
Four main themes emerged from the data analysis: (1) Betrayal of moral and ethical values as a key source of suffering; (2) Ethical and moral sense of failure accompanying loss of meaning; (3) Lack of confidence in performance; (4) Self-demand and self-punishment as personal condemnation among healthcare workers.
Conclusions
Health institutions must implement interventions for health professionals to help mitigate the consequences of experiencing complex ethical scenarios during the pandemic. In addition, they should promote training in moral and ethical deliberation and prepare them to make decisions of great ethical significance.

KeywordsCOVID‐19, ethical conflicts, healthcare workers, health crisis, qualitative study
Sustainable Development Goals3 Good health and well-being
Middlesex University ThemeHealth & Wellbeing
LanguageEnglish
PublisherWileyBlackwell
JournalJournal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice
ISSN1356-1294
Publication dates
Online20 Jul 2022
Print13 Jan 2023
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Jan 2023
Submitted19 Jan 2022
Accepted01 Jun 2022
Output statusPublished
Publisher's version
License
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.1111/jep.13742
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