Rural Nurse Practitioners: Perceptions of Ethical Dilemmas

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The purposes of this study were to identify ethical dilemmas encountered by rural nurse practitioners in primary practice and to identify constraints or enhancers that influenced ethical decision making. Nine nurse practitioners from Wyoming and Colorado responded to in-depth interviews. Six categories of ethical dilemmas and a list of constraints and enhancers were identified. One central concept, conflict between personal values and professional responsibility, emerged. Beneficence, nonmaleficence, justice, and patient autonomy, as core ethical principles, were related to this central conflict.

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