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Orthop Nurs. 2008 Mar-Apr;27(2):135-9. doi: 10.1097/01.NOR.0000315630.53547.47.

Conflict of interest: nurses at risk!

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Center for Bioethics and Health Law, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.


Conflict of interest as it relates to healthcare is gaining increasing attention. Pharmaceutical companies and manufacturers that produce medical devices are coming under greater scrutiny because of the influence that their marketing practices may have on the patient management decisions made by healthcare professionals. The result is that healthcare agency administrators are developing conflict of interest policies and procedures for their professional employees. The driving force behind many of these policies is the need to maintain the trust of the public by refraining from questionable professional conduct. This article presents 2 hypothetical cases to provide nurses with an understanding of the concept of conflict of interest and the ethical considerations this issue raises, and describes the subtle and not-so-subtle influences on professional practice decisions. Recommendations are offered to help nurses avoid conflict of interest and preserve their professional integrity. It is incumbent upon nurses to become cognizant of the types of situations that may present a conflict of interest for them and to take the necessary steps to avoid such professional impropriety.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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