Autonomy and informed consent in surgical care-patients' and staff perceptions

Anja Schopp, Theo Dassen, Maritta Anneli Vaelimaeki, Helena Leino-Kilpi, Maria Gasull, Chryssoula Lemonidou, Anne P. Scott, Marianne Arndt

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this study was to describe autonomy and informed consent in surgical care. The study is a part of the international BIOMED 2 project "Patients' Autonomy and Privacy in Nursing Interventions" (BIOMED2, BMH4-CT98-3555; 1998-2001) supported by the European Commission. For this study, data of patients (n = 254) and nurses (n = 205) in eleven Berlin hospitals and three hospitals outside Berlin were collected by means of a structured questionnaire. The findings of the study indicate, that information-giving was more positive than decision-making. Patients perceived they were more frequently informed about their surgery than about their care. According to the perceptions of nurses the case was reversed. The perceptions of both groups differed, since from the point of view of nurses, patients' autonomy was more frequently heeded and their consent was sought more often than from the point of view of the patients. Patients admitted as emergencies and in multi-bed rooms perceived their autonomy more negatively than those with a planned surgery or in single rooms. Elderly nurses were more frequently than younger nurses of the opinion to grant patients autonomy. Nurses with a longer working experience in nursing care perceived that patients were more frequently asked their consent. Further, nurses with a higher educational qualification and with a higher occupational status perceived decision-making more negatively. The findings of the present study give implications for clinical practice, nursing education, and for further research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-164
Number of pages10
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2004
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Nursing


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