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Nurs Ethics. 2003 Sep;10(5):541-54.

Nurses' ethical conflicts in performance of utilization reviews.

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Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan 48202, USA.


This article describes the ethical conflicts that a sample of US nurse utilization reviewers faced in their work, and also each nurse's self-reported ethical orientation that was used to resolve the dilemmas. Data were collected from a sample of 97 registered nurses who were working at least 20 hours per week as utilization reviewers. Respondents were recruited from three managed care organizations that conduct utilization reviews in a large midwestern city. A cross-sectional survey design was used to collect demographic data and to ask closed-response, short-answer and open-ended questions. Ethical conflicts reported by nurses were similar across utilization review settings and many were justice orientated. Self-reported ethical orientations were similar across organizations, with beneficence dominating. Implications of these findings are discussed.

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