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A Fine Line: The Role of Personal and Professional Vulnerability in Allegations of Unprofessional Conduct

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Abstract:

A grounded theory study to describe how one cohort of Australian nurses dealt with an allegation of unprofessional conduct was undertaken in response to limited research and discourse on this phenomenon. The exploration of the social problem—an allegation of unprofessional conduct—revealed that nurses bring to and experience personal and professional vulnerability in their practice contexts. These vulnerabilities can be distinguished on two trajectories: first, as causal attributes to a fragmentation of decision making and resultant allegation of substandard practice; and second, as motivations to report the nurse to a nurse regulatory authority. These findings have relevance for nurses, nurse administrators, and legal practitioners to enhance understanding of the nature and causation of substandard practice and motivations for alleging and reporting unprofessional conduct.

Keywords: CLINICAL DECISION MAKING; NURSE REGULATORY AUTHORITY; NURSING ERROR; PERSONAL VULNERABILITY; PROFESSIONAL VULNERABILITY; UNPROFESSIONAL CONDUCT

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1891/1073-7472.14.1.21

Publication date: 2011-03-01

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