A cross-cultural comparison of nurses' ethical concerns

Nurs Ethics. 2008 Nov;15(6):745-60. doi: 10.1177/0969733008095385.


The aim of this study was to compare Swedish and Chinese nurses' experiences of ethical dilemmas and workplace distress in order to deepen understanding of the challenges neuroscience nurses encounter in different cultures. Qualitative interviews from two previously performed empirical studies in Sweden and China were the basis of this comparative study. Four common content areas were identified in both studies: ethical dilemmas, workplace distress, quality of nursing and managing distress. The themes formulated within each content area were compared and synthesized into novel constellations by means of aggregated concept analysis. Despite wide differences in the two health care systems, the nurse participants had similar experiences with regard to work stress and a demanding work situation. They were struggling with similar ethical dilemmas, which concerned seriously ill patients and the possibilities of providing good care. This indicates the importance of providing nurses with the tools to influence their own work situation and thereby reducing their work-related stress.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological / ethics
  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel / ethnology*
  • Burnout, Professional / ethnology*
  • Burnout, Professional / etiology
  • Burnout, Professional / prevention & control
  • China / epidemiology
  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Nervous System Diseases / nursing
  • Nurse's Role / psychology
  • Nursing Methodology Research
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / education
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / ethics*
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / organization & administration
  • Nursing Staff, Hospital / psychology*
  • Patient Advocacy / ethics
  • Patient Selection / ethics
  • Professional Autonomy
  • Qualitative Research
  • Quality of Health Care / ethics
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Sweden / epidemiology
  • Workplace / organization & administration
  • Workplace / psychology