Differences in ethical decision-making processes among nurses and doctors


  • Rivka Grundstem-Amado RN PhD

    Project Co-ordinator
    1. Bay crest Centre for Geriatric Care, Competency Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, 3560 Bathurst Street, North York, Ontario M6A 2E1, Canada
    Search for more papers by this author


The study reports results of an inquiry into the different patterns of ethical decision making used by doctors and nurses The findings of the study are that nurses and doctors act out of different values, motivations and expectations and that there is a communication gap between them Nurses place the highest value on the ‘caring’ perspective, which entails responsiveness and sensitivity to the patients’ wishes In contrast, the doctors value above all the patients’ rights and the scientific approach that implies a major concern with disease and its cure The study suggests that there is a need for the development of a new foundation, based on common professional attributes of the two groups, to which both groups are committed This would provide a joint point of reference from which the two professions can solve shared ethical problems and would remove communication barriers