Nursing students as research participants: a framework for ethical practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AIM: The aim is to discuss a new framework that can aid ethical decision making in educational nursing research.

BACKGROUND: Nurse researchers have a significant amount of guidance to inform their ethical decision making in relation to research. However, research governance and professional guidance only go so far in promoting ethical research practice. Nurse researchers who work in higher education institutes face particular ethical challenges when nursing students are used as research participants.

METHOD: We explore the complexities of educational research and introduce a framework that can help nurse researchers to make ethically sound research decisions. We draw inspiration from Wendler and Grady (2008) [Wendler, D., Grady, C., 2008. What should research participants understand to understand they are participants in research? Bioethics, 22(4), 203-208] who explored the issue of informed consent in bioethical research. They proposed three key issues that researchers need to consider: research contribution; research relationship and research impact. Inspired by their work, we have developed the Framework for Ethical Research Practice for use in a nursing context. Using examples from our research, we show how the framework can be a useful tool for nurse researchers to assist them in making ethically sound research decisions.

CONCLUSION: This new framework should appeal to researchers seeking innovative ways of enhancing the ethical realm of their practice.


  • Community Participation, Decision Making, Ethics, Nursing, Ethics, Research, Humans, Informed Consent, Nursing Education Research, Patient Selection, Students, Nursing, Journal Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)192-6
Number of pages5
JournalNurse Education Today
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2010
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