Random Assignment and Patient Choice in a Study of Alternative Pain Relief for Sickle Cell Disease1

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This article presents two case examples in which women with sickle cell disease, when invited to participate in a nursing experiment, requested assignment to the experimental group. This experience stimulated the authors to explore the ethics of random assignment relative to equipoise, informed consent, patient choices, study validity, the clinician-patient relationship, patient support networks, and other issues. There is a need for in-depth discussion about random assignment and its implications within the nursing research and advanced practice communities.

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