Positive and negative outcomes from values and beliefs held by healthcare clinician and non-clinician managers


Marie Carney,
University College Dublin,
Head,UCD School of Nursing, Midwifery and Health Systems,
National University of Ireland,
Dublin 4,
E-mail: marie.carney@ucd.ie


Aim.  The aim of this paper is to present the values and beliefs of clinicians and non-clinicians working in not-for-profit healthcare organizations, and the positive and negative outcomes of holding such values.

Background.  Ethical values are part of the essence of healthcare management and delivery. Although studies have identified what some of those values are, few studies have been undertaken to identify if the values and beliefs held are ethical, and what the outcomes, positive and negative, to holding such values are.

Methods.  This study was undertaken in 60 of the 65 acute care hospitals in the Republic of Ireland, and in eight regional health boards during 2001. The study population included all accessible professional clinician and non-clinician department heads. The sample size was 862 and the valid response rate was 42%. Research findings from questions requiring qualitative responses are presented and are part of a wider study. Responses were subjected to content analysis.

Results.  Eleven key values identified are excellence in care delivery, positive value system, managerial receptiveness and non-receptiveness, organizational dependability and lack of dependability, peer cohesion and lack of peer cohesion, equity in care delivery, personal contribution to the organization and personal importance. Findings also demonstrated positive and negative outcomes for the organization, patients and staff as a result of the values held.

Conclusions.  Findings show that healthcare clinicians and non-clinicians demonstrated a range of values in the delivery of health care, some of which have not been identified before. Should professionals now reconsider the values required in the delivery of health care? The most widely perceived values held by both groups were similar, although clinicians perceived that non-clinicians did not hold the same ethical values and beliefs as they did, and vice-versa, demonstrating a lack of trust in each other's moral and ethical value system.