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Examination of Ethical Dilemmas Experienced by Adult Intensive Care Unit Nurses in Physical Restraint Practices

Yönt, Gülendam Hakverdioğlu PhD, RN; Korhan, Esra Akin PhD, RN; Dizer, Berna PhD, RN; Gümüş, Fatma; Koyuncu, Rukiye

doi: 10.1097/HNP.0000000000000013

Nurses are more likely to face the dilemma of whether to resort to physical restraints or not and have a hard time making that decision. This is a descriptive study. A total of 55 nurses participated in the research. For data collection, a question form developed by researchers to determine perceptions of ethical dilemmas by nurses in the application of physical restraint was used. A descriptive analysis was made by calculating the mean, standard deviation, and maximum and minimum values. The nurses expressed (36.4%) having difficulty in deciding to use physical restraint. Nurses reported that they experience ethical dilemmas mainly in relation to the ethic principles of nonmaleficence, beneficence, and convenience. We have concluded that majority of nurses working in critical care units apply physical restraint to patients, although they are facing ethical dilemmas concerning harm and benefit principles during the application.

Department of Nursing, Sifa University Faculty of Health Science, Izmir, Turkey (Dr Yönt); Department of Nursing, Izmir Katip Çelebi University Faculty of Nursing, Izmir, Turkey (Drs Korhan and Dizer); Department of Intensive Care Nurse, Izmir Sifa Hospital, Basmane, Izmir (Mss Gümüş and Koyuncu).

Correspondence: Gülendam Hakverdioğlu Yönt, PhD, RN, Department of Nursing, Sifa University Faculty of Health Science, Ankara st, No: 45, 35100 Bayraklı, Izmir, Turkey (

The authors thank all the nurses who took time to complete the questionnaire.

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.

© 2014 by Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins