Autonomy, privacy and informed consent 2: postnatal perspective.

P. A. Scott, A. Taylor, Maritta Anneli Vaelimaeki, H. Leino-Kilpi, T. Dassen, M. Gasull, C. Lemonidou, M. Arndt

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


The nursing and healthcare ethics literature over the past 10 years has focused on issues of patient autonomy and patient rights. Despite the growing volume of literature exploring such topics, there is little empirical work investigating what is actually happening in clinical nursing or midwifery practice in relation to patient autonomy, privacy or informed consent, from the perspective of either patients or staff. This four-part series reports the results of a Scottish study that formed part of a multisite comparative research project funded by the European Commission, investigating issues of patient autonomy, privacy and informed consent. This article, the second of four, explores the issues of autonomy, privacy and informed consent in maternity care. The research questions asked were: (1) What is the perception of mothers' autonomy, privacy and informed consent in Scottish NHS hospitals, from the point of view of both mothers and midwives? (2) Are there differences in the perceptions of mothers and midwives on these issues? Data were collected by a self-completion questionnaire for mothers (n = 243) and staff (n = 170) on postnatal units in both district general and university teaching hospital. Results indicated that there are differences between the perceptions of mothers and midwives in relation to mothers' autonomy, privacy and informed consent. Most differences were found in the information-giving and decision-making elements of autonomy.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-127
Number of pages11
JournalBritish journal of nursing (Mark Allen Publishing)
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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