BACKGROUND: In this study, we examined the predictive values of a moral deliberate and paternalistic attitude on the propensity of yielding to pressure. In these hypothesised positive and negative relationships, we further sought to ascertain whether moral disengagement plays a pivotal role when individuals deviate from ethical standards, rules and regulations when yielding to pressure.
AIM(S): This study's primary aim was to assess the predictive value of a moral deliberative and paternalistic attitude for yielding to pressure when physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) face moral conflicts.
METHOD: This validation study was cross-sectional and based on a convenience sample of Dutch PAs and NPs. The MSQ-DELIB and MSQ-PATER scales indicate a moral deliberate or paternalistic attitude. These scales were assumed to have a predictive value towards the degree of yielding to pressure by PAs and NPs. Yielding to pressure was measured by two vignettes in which respondents faced a moral conflict (vignette 1: prescribing unindicated antibiotics and vignette 2: discharging a difficult patient from the hospital).
RESULTS: Only moral deliberation was a significant predictor of yielding to pressure. That is, we found a positive effect in vignette 1 (in which the pressure came from the patient). In contrast, we found a negative relationship in vignette 2 (in which pressure went from the working environment). Paternalism did not affect yielding to pressure in either vignette.
CONCLUSION: This study suggests that PAs and NPs having a moral deliberative attitude makes them receptive to pressure exerted by patients to break moral standards. On the other hand, they are more resilient against doing so when this pressure comes from different sources than the patient. Further research is needed to find more conclusive evidence for this differential effect.
- cross-sectional studies
- nurse practitioners
- physician assistants