Ethical Dilemma of Health Professionals in Ghana: Experiences of Doctors and Nurses at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital
This study sought to examine the major ethical challenges facing the nurses and doctors in their practice and how these affect the delivery of quality healthcare using Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital as Case Study. The research was a case study and employed the qualitative research paradigm. Using in-depth interviews as a data collection tool, fourteen respondents comprising seven doctors and seven nurses were purposively sampled for their experiences on ethical dilemmas encountered in their practice, its effects and their coping strategies. The findings reveal that doctors and nurses in the hospital indeed do experience ethical dilemmas. Some key causes of dilemma were found to be resource constraints, poor attitude of some staff towards work, conflicts among ethical codes, religious beliefs and personal values hampering smooth decision making and poor working relations among staff. The study found that ethical challenges lead to undue stress on health professionals, wastes time and resources and prolong the suffering and treatment of patients. In spite of these challenges the doctors and nurses are able to cope with these challenges through consultation with colleagues, relaxing to relieve stress and updating their knowledge on ethical issues. The study proposes measures such as adequate resource provision for health institutions, improved conditions of service and remuneration, institution of efficient and more comprehensive hospital protocols to address specific situations and frequent training to health professionals on healthcare ethics to help address the ethical dilemmas amongst doctors and nurses.
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