Experienced Speech-Language Pathologists' Responses to Ethical Dilemmas: An Integrated Approach to Ethical Reasoning Purpose To investigate the approaches of experienced speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to ethical reasoning and the processes they use to resolve ethical dilemmas. Method Ten experienced SLPs participated in in-depth interviews. A narrative approach was used to guide participants' descriptions of how they resolved ethical dilemmas. Individual narrative transcriptions ... Research Article
Research Article  |   May 01, 2010
Experienced Speech-Language Pathologists' Responses to Ethical Dilemmas: An Integrated Approach to Ethical Reasoning
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Belinda Kenny
    University of Sydney, Australia
  • Michelle Lincoln
    University of Sydney, Australia
  • Susan Balandin
    Molde University College, Norway
  • Contact author: Belinda Kenny, University of Sydney—Speech Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, Cumberland Campus, Lidcombe, New South Wales 1825, Australia. E-mail: b.kenny@usyd.edu.au.
Article Information
Professional Issues & Training / Research Articles
Research Article   |   May 01, 2010
Experienced Speech-Language Pathologists' Responses to Ethical Dilemmas: An Integrated Approach to Ethical Reasoning
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2010, Vol. 19, 121-134. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/08-0007)
History: Received February 17, 2008 , Revised August 19, 2008 , Accepted October 11, 2009
 
American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, May 2010, Vol. 19, 121-134. doi:10.1044/1058-0360(2009/08-0007)
History: Received February 17, 2008; Revised August 19, 2008; Accepted October 11, 2009
Web of Science® Times Cited: 6

Purpose To investigate the approaches of experienced speech-language pathologists (SLPs) to ethical reasoning and the processes they use to resolve ethical dilemmas.

Method Ten experienced SLPs participated in in-depth interviews. A narrative approach was used to guide participants' descriptions of how they resolved ethical dilemmas. Individual narrative transcriptions were analyzed by using the participant’s words to develop an ethical story that described and interpreted their responses to dilemmas. Key concepts from individual stories were then coded into group themes to reflect participants' reasoning processes.

Results Five major themes reflected participants' approaches to ethical reasoning: (a) focusing on the well-being of the client, (b) fulfilling professional roles and responsibilities, (c) attending to professional relationships, (d) managing resources, and (e) integrating personal and professional values. SLPs demonstrated a range of ethical reasoning processes: applying bioethical principles, casuistry, and narrative reasoning when managing ethical dilemmas in the workplace.

Conclusions The results indicate that experienced SLPs adopted an integrated approach to ethical reasoning. They supported clients' rights to make health care choices. Bioethical principles, casuistry, and narrative reasoning provided useful frameworks for facilitating health professionals' application of codes of ethics to complex professional practice issues.

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