The development of ethical guidelines for nurses’ collegiality using the Delphi method

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Abstract

Background:

Nurses’ collegiality is topical because patient care is complicated, requiring shared knowledge and working methods. Nurses’ collaboration has been supported by a number of different working models, but there has been less focus on ethics.

Aim:

This study aimed to develop nurses’ collegiality guidelines using the Delphi method.

Method:

Two online panels of Finnish experts, with 35 and 40 members, used the four-step Delphi method in December 2013 and January 2014. They reformulated the items of nurses’ collegiality identified by the literature and rated based on validity and importance. Content analysis and descriptive statistical methods were used to analyze the data, and the nurses’ collegiality guidelines were formulated.

Ethical considerations:

Organizational approval was received, and an informed consent was obtained from all participants. Information about the voluntary nature of participation was provided.

Results:

During the first Delphi panel round, a number of items were reformulated and added, resulting in 32 reformulated items. As a result of the second round, 8 of the 32 items scored an agreement rate of more than 75%, with the most rated item being collegiality means that professionals respect each other. The item with second highest rating was collegiality has a common objective: what is best for patients, followed by the third highest which was professional ethics is the basis of collegiality.

Conclusion:

Nurses’ collegiality and its content are well recognized in clinical practice but seldom studied. Collegiality can be supported by guidelines, and nurses working in clinical practice, together with teachers and managers, have shared responsibilities to support and develop it. More research in different nursing environments is needed to improve understanding of the content and practice of nursing collegiality.

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