Perception of care quality and ethical sensitivity in surgical nurses

Nurs Ethics. 2020 May;27(3):673-685. doi: 10.1177/0969733020901830. Epub 2020 Feb 11.


Background: It is stated that high ethical sensitivity positively affects the quality of nursing care. However, the relationship between nursing care quality and ethical sensitivity has not been clearly demonstrated in researches.

Aim: This study was carried out to determine the relationship between surgical nurses' care behaviors and their ethical sensitivity.

Method: The sample of this cross-sectional, descriptive-correlational study consists of 308 nurses who worked at the surgical departments in four Turkish hospitals. The data were collected using the "Nurse Description Form" developed by the researcher, "Caring Behaviours Inventory-24" and "Ethical Sensitivity Questionnaire." Data were evaluated by the Mann Whitney U test, Kruskal Wallis one-way analysis of variance and Spearman correlation analysis.

Ethical considerations: The study was approved by the ethics committee. Verbal and written consent was received from the nurses.

Results: It was found in the study that nurses' Caring Behaviours Inventory-24 total score median was 5.25 (4.83-5.58), nurses' perception level of caring quality was high, median of Ethical Sensitivity Questionnaire total score was 89.00 (75.00-101.00) and nurses' ethical sensitivity was moderate. A negative significant relation was found between nurses' Caring Behaviours Inventory-24 total score and Ethical Sensitivity Questionnaire total score (r = -0.162; p = 0.009). A negative relation was also detected between nurses' working period at the current clinic and providing benefit (r = -0.147; p = 0.012), holistic approach (r = -0.139; p = 0.018) and orientation (r = -0.175; p = 0.003) scores of Ethical Sensitivity Questionnaire sub-scales.

Conclusion: Nurses' perception levels of caring quality were high and their ethical sensitivity levels were moderate. It was found out that nurses' ethical sensitivity increased together with their perception of caring quality, and as their working period at the current clinic increased, the ethical sensitivity also increased in terms of the sub-scales of providing benefit, holistic approach, and orientation. The factors that adversely affect the quality of nursing care and ethical sensitivity should be examined and attempts should be made to improve the working environment.

Keywords: Care behaviors; ethical sensitivity; nurse.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Correlation of Data
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Ethics, Nursing
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nurses / psychology*
  • Nurses / standards
  • Nurses / statistics & numerical data
  • Operating Room Nursing / ethics*
  • Operating Room Nursing / standards
  • Perception*
  • Psychometrics / instrumentation
  • Psychometrics / methods
  • Quality of Health Care / ethics
  • Quality of Health Care / standards*
  • Quality of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Turkey