Ethical Case Study of the Researcher-Participant Relationship in End-of-Life Research

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Abstract

Nurse-researchers studying interventions for patients at the end-of-life may become close with participants due to the nature of interactions within the research protocol. In such studies, participants may request further interactions that would constitute clinical care beyond the scope of the protocol. Nurse-researchers may feel a conflict of values between their obligation to the research goals and their inclinations and obligations as nurses to care for their patients. Nurse-researchers in this situation aspire to honor the bonds developed through close contact and ensure participants receive standard of care while maintaining standards of research ethics. Analysis of a case and review of applicable concepts in research ethics, including ethical relationships, therapeutic misconception, equipoise, and population vulnerability, are used to develop recommendations regarding the decision parameters for similar cases.

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