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Stating the case for nursing research ethics committees: A discussion paper

Fletcher, Ian; Mitchell, Theresa


Ian Fletcher

Theresa Mitchell


Progression of nurse education from apprentice to educational courses in response to demands for strengthening professional status has led to an increase of nursing research proposals at Level 3 and beyond. Accordingly, the demands on ethics committees in considering ethico-legal aspects of such proposals have also risen. Historically, this function has fallen to (medical) local research ethics committees. This paper considers one centre's response in creating a nurse-led research ethics committee to function in a symbiotic partnership with its medical counterparts. The authors consider arguments for and against such a committee, suggesting that nurse-led groups are generally more tolerant of the diversity revealed within nursing research proposals, including both quantitative and qualitative studies, than medical committees who are arguably steeped in the empirical tradition. The authors also consider the future viability of small ethics committees against the backdrop of national reorganization of nurse education. They contend that whilst organizational factors may encourage creation of regionally based multidisciplinary committees, the value of discrete local nurse-led ethics groups cannot be underestimated, and such groups should be retained. © 1998 Harcourt Brace & Co. Ltd.


Fletcher, I., & Mitchell, T. (1998). Stating the case for nursing research ethics committees: A discussion paper. Nurse Education Today, 18(2), 133-137.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Jan 1, 1998
Journal Nurse Education Today
Print ISSN 0260-6917
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Not Peer Reviewed
Volume 18
Issue 2
Pages 133-137
Keywords nursing research committees
Public URL
Publisher URL