Ethical conflicts experienced by certified pediatric nurse practitioners in ambulatory settings

Arlene M. Butz, Barbara K. Redman, Sara T. Fry, Ken Kolodner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Introduction. The purpose of this descriptive study was to (a) identity the types of ethical conflicts and their resolutions reported by a group of certified pediatric nurse practitioners (CPNPs) in their ambulatory practice and (b) to examine demographic, educational, and practice setting factors associated with these conflicts. Method. Five hundred fifty-nine CPNPs, identified by the National Association of Pediatric. Nurse Associates and Practitioners, received survey questionnaires in the mail and were asked to participate by describing an ethical conflict in their practice. Questionnaires were completed by 118 CPNPs. Each ethical conflict was analyzed according to a four content analyzsis classification system to capture multiple relevant meanings. The relationship between types of ethical conflicts and demographic, educational, and practice-setting variables was examined. Results. One third (34%) of the perceived ethical coriflicts fell in the child/parent/practitioner relationship category. Most conflicts (31 %) were experienced as a moral dilemma where 2 or more clear moral principles apply but they support mutually inconsistent courses of action. Most ethical conflicts (22%) were unresolved. Discussion. Understanding the nature of ethical conflicts that CPNPs are experiencing in ambulatory settings is important. Professional and institutions/ agencies need to collaborate on how to initiate appropriate ethics education and consultation for professional staff to recognize, discuss, and resolve ethical conflicts in the workplace.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)183-190
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pediatric Health Care
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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