FINAL-TERM PAPER: HOFLING HOSPITAL EXPERIMENT
Cassandra N. Phillips
December 11, 2012
PSY 1012-Introduction to Psychology
HOFLING HOSPITAL EXPERIMENT
In 1966, the psychiatrist Charles K. Hofling conducted a two-part experiment that was inspired by Milgram’s research in obedience (Milgram, S., 1963 & 1965). It consisted of a survey and field study on obedience in the nurse-physician relationship. Primarily, what happens when nurses are required to carry out a procedure which goes against her professional standards and secondly, to determine if nurses were aware of their tendencies in the level of obedience they displayed.
The Method, Participants, & Materials
Three psychiatric hospitals in the Midwest took part in this study, with one hospital acting as the control group. The control group consisted of a total of twenty-two nurses (twelve graduate nurses and twenty-one student nurses) who would complete the survey during the field study period. The field experiment would be conducted in twenty-one wards (twelve public and ten private) of the remaining two psychiatric hospitals. The twenty-two nurse participants were closely matched for age, sex, race, marital status, length of working week, professional experience and area of origin. An imaginary scenario was explained to the group of nurses and nursing students who were not only expected to answer what they would do, but also what they predicted the majority of other nurses would do in the same situation (Hofling, Brotzman, Dalrymple, Graves & Pierce,1966).
Hofling then arranged for a memo to be sent to all of the participants to remind them of their responsibilities with regard to changes in medication for patients. The nurses were observed to see if they adhered to the guidelines provided otherwise a violation of hospital policy would have transpired. Per the memo, (1) medication orders and instructions could not be accepted over...
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