• ethical environment;
  • nursing;
  • ethics;
  • interventions;
  • nurse-patient relationship;
  • patients;
  • privacy;
  • post-natal care

Maintaining privacy on post-natal wards: a study in five European countries

Aim. To describe how mothers’ privacy is maintained on post-natal wards in five European countries: Finland, Spain, Greece, Germany and Scotland [United Kingdom (UK)]

Background. Privacy is an important concept in nursing and nursing ethics. Empirical studies in this field, however, are few. In this study, privacy is defined as comprising both physical and social-informational dimensions and both the perceptions of mothers and professional were investigated.

Methods. The data were collected by a questionnaire from mothers (n=1192) and midwife/nursing staff (n=952).

Results. The results revealed differences both between the different countries and between patients’ and professionals’ views. Mothers in Finland, Germany and Scotland felt their privacy was maintained better than mothers in Greece and Spain. The differences in staff perceptions are less clear-cut. Different background factors emerge as statistically significant in different countries.

Conclusion. Empirical studies in privacy are important and give ideas about the problems in nursing practice. Future analyses should look also at other areas of nursing.