Pharmacy ethical reasoning: a comparison of Australian pharmacists and interns

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Hattingh, H Laetitia
King, Michelle A
Hope, Denise L
George, Elizabeth
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2019
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Background: Ethical reasoning informs decision making and professional judgement, is guided by codes of ethics and conduct, and requires navigation through a regulatory framework. Ethical reasoning should evolve throughout the pharmacy internship year and prepare interns for independent practice. Objective: To explore the ethical reasoning and processes of Australian pharmacists and pharmacy interns. Setting: Queensland community pharmacists and interns. Method: A survey to determine use of resources to guide ethical decisions, management of ethical dilemmas, and exposure to potential practice privacy breaches. Participants were recruited at pharmacy intern training events, a pharmacist education session and through telephone contact of randomised community pharmacies. Main outcome measure: Comparison between pharmacist and intern responses using 5-point Likert scales, listings and prioritising. Results: In total 218 completed surveys were analysed: 121 pharmacy interns and 97 pharmacists. The Code of Ethics was identified as the resource most frequently consulted when faced with ethical dilemmas. Interns were more likely to consult legislation and regulatory authorities whereas pharmacists with colleagues. Responses to ethical vignette scenarios and exposure to privacy breaches varied between interns and pharmacists, with some scenarios revealing significant differences. Most participants had been exposed to a variety of potential privacy breaches in practice. Conclusion: Interns focussed on legislation and guidelines when presented with hypothetical ethical dilemmas. In contrast to this positivist approach, pharmacists reported using a social constructionist approach with peers as a reference. Pharmacists avoided ethical scenario options that required complex management. Interns reported more exposure to potential practice privacy breaches.

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International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

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41

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4

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Pharmacology and pharmaceutical sciences

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Health services and systems

Science & Technology

Life Sciences & Biomedicine

Pharmacology & Pharmacy

Australia

Decision making

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Hattingh, HL; King, MA; Hope, DL; George, E, Pharmacy ethical reasoning: a comparison of Australian pharmacists and interns, International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy, 2019, 41 (4), pp. 1085-1098

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