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To participate or not to participate: The troublesome question of nurses' conscientious objection to abortion: A qualitative study

Fleming, V, Maxwell, C, Hanlon, C, Robb, Y, Vermeulen, J and Dobrowolska, B (2024) To participate or not to participate: The troublesome question of nurses' conscientious objection to abortion: A qualitative study. Journal of Advanced Nursing. pp. 1-11. ISSN 0309-2402

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Aim: To report a study investigating the implementation of the “conscience clause” by practising nurses in two National Health Service Hospital Trusts in the UK. Design: A qualitative study. Methods: Data were collected from 2018 to 2020 through qualitative face-to-face interviews with 20 nurses, transcribed verbatim and analyzed by thematic analysis. Results: Major themes were developing conscience, negotiating conscience and pa-rameters of participation. Conclusion: Participants had varied views on conscientious objection, reflecting a continuum from unwillingness to be near anything related to abortion to being willing to participate in the whole process. Most participants framed involvement as fulfilling their “duty of care” to their patient. Direct experience of witnessing abortion overrode faith-based foundations to shape participants' beliefs as objectors or non-objectors. Non-objectors were supportive of objecting colleagues. Implications for the Profession: The complex nature of conscience as a fundamen-tal human right is inherently related to the cultural and social context of nursing.“Employability” raised important questions over the real world of a nurse's legal right to invoke conscientious objection without consequences. Impact: Problem addressed Conscientious objection to abortion continues to affect nursing. Main findings There was little knowledge of the law and a reluctance to make formal objections. Where and on whom will the research have an impact It highlights the need for delineated and implemented guidelines on conscientious objection in practice for nurses. Its findings, while local, may be applicable to other abortion services. Patient and Public Contribution: Representatives of each were key in our advisory group. Reporting Method: COREQ checklist for qualitative research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 1110 Nursing; Nursing
Subjects: R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine > RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Divisions: Psychology (from Sep 2019)
Public Health Institute
Publisher: Wiley
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 13 Jun 2024 15:40
Last Modified: 13 Jun 2024 15:45
DOI or ID number: 10.1111/jan.16258
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/23482
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