Lack of Respect in the Perioperative Setting: an Ethical Issue

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Lack of Respect in the Perioperative Setting: An Ethical Issue Judith L. Clayton
Chamberlain School of Nursing

Lack of Respect in the Perioperative Setting: An Ethical Issue
The perioperative nursing culture is made up of many habits that are simply accepted. “Habits and ethics belong together because of the moral virtue that arises through habit and moral, which is implied in the word ethics” (Lindwall & von Post, 2008, p.670). Ethics deals with the rightness or wrongness of human behavior. Habits are created by human beings living or working in a particular culture. Culture encompasses experiences, moral concepts, ideas of right and wrong and the habits that are developed as part of a society. A habit is something that is performed frequently or regularly and may be an ethical act that is bad and is frequently repeated and difficult to stop. Perioperative nursing is a profession that is founded on caring and ethics. The habits of the perioperative nursing culture are a result of demand for asepsis, safety and productivity. The habits of the perioperative nurses are formed by education, basic values and ethics. Nurses’ habits and behavior can and will affect the patient’s sense of well-being (Lindwall & von Post, 2008). Perioperative nurses are obligated to treat all persons in a just and fair manner with respect and compassion. A perioperative environment where disrespectful behavior is allowed is unethical (Kupperschmidt, 2006).

Lindwall and von Post conducted a study looking at habits existing in the perioperative nursing culture. They found that a temporary friendship with patients, showing respect for each other, and finding the time to reflect on ethical questions promote ethical values. Habits hindering progress include seeing the patient as a surgical case, nurses not acknowledging one another, and not talking about ethics and caring. Habits that will set the tone within the perioperative culture include the existence of a hidden power...
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