This article summarizes the body of research about ethical conflicts described by nurses in various fields of practice and recommends direction for the use and extension of this information. Twenty-three studies that fit criteria for inclusion were located. As a group, studies use inconsistent terminology, pay little attention to measurement characteristics of the instruments used, and do not use explanatory theory about how and why ethical conflicts develop or are experienced. Several studies of nurses practicing in community and home care settings, in intensive care units, and in administrative roles show some common areas of ethical conflict. Studies of ethical conflicts can be used as a basis for improving practice.
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