In the healthcare sector, research work is of utmost significance. The reason is that the data these medical professionals extract from research helps them develop better medication and treatment routes. While this may sound like a humanitarian cause, that’s not always the case. There have been examples in the past of how the race against science after World War 2 led to massive human rights violations and unethical research practices.
Therefore, while research work is crucial to progress in the medical sector, a framework to ensure that the data is genuine and extracted humanely is vital. No matter how hurried you may feel to complete your research, don’t try to manipulate your way into getting the results you seek. Through this article, we will help you understand the ethical issues surrounding healthcare research work.
Here’s what you need to know about the moral code:
1. Work Integrity
Sometimes, getting the data you need for research purposes is next to impossible due to accessibility. Sometimes the test trial itself is not conclusive or quantifiable enough to land on paper. In such cases, there have been instances where researchers have tried duplicating and falsifying test results to prove a hypothesis, going against work integrity. Your research work needs dedication and honesty. You need to state how you collected your data, the results, and if you previously published any preliminary data that correlated to the current data. Extrapolating data or even copying another researcher’s work is unethical. It even makes legal grounds for disqualification. However, if you lack the expertise to gather, analyze, and present findings, gaining higher education can prove beneficial. Besides, the recent pandemic provided added flexibility and self-paced learning convenience to healthcare professionals. In such a scenario, online doctoral programs came along with a broader and global perspective of knowledge. For instance, the online DNP programs help nursing scholars ace their evidence-based practice in clinical and educational settings. The flexibility of eLearning allows nurses to pursue higher education options while attaining clinical experience.
2. Provide Informed Consent and Avoid Exploitation
Before you conduct any invasive research work, you need to inform the participants about the research itself. It means they’re allowed to know whether they’ll be receiving any medications and whether they will be oral or injectable. Or will there be physical and psychological repercussions during this research and if their current insurance plans cover them. You also need to inform the participants if their health deteriorates or the research work has entered dangerous grounds, causing extreme discomfort with no yield.
What are your plans for tackling the experiment? Your participants need a sound and rational mind to give consent. If it’s a minor, their guardians need to understand the complete picture and provide support.
3. The Right to Confidentiality
Your participants have a right to privacy and confidentiality. Their personal information and reasons for opting to become a participant are not for public disclosure. The only exceptional grounds are if it’s crucial for legal purposes or a medical emergency. Whatever signs and symptoms they exhibit, you should not mention them in the research paper unless necessary. However, if necessary, keep the participants anonymous. The participant has every right to avoid any hardship or discrimination due to the research itself.
4. There Needs to be Objectivity
There should be no biases in any part of your research, including the design, data, analysis, interpretation, and peer review. Never submit your research to someone you know for review. You should also ensure your research never discriminates against a particular group or creed.
Furthermore, you cannot disclose if you’re receiving any financial or monetary benefits from this research work.
Also, avoid trying to split the gains with anyone willing to approve of your data. Your research paper should always go to a research expert who knows nothing about you apart from what they see on paper.
5. Exercise Precautions and Minimize Risks
Research work is a delicate process. As you go through different phases of research, you need to ensure that there is care and safety at all costs. Use sterilized equipment, the same medication, and ensure that the environment where the participants are is controlled and not harming them in any way. You also need to closely monitor how your participants are handling the due course of the research. If any complication arises, you need to record it in your investigation and provide emergency medical care when necessary. If you’re unsure that the medical equipment is safe to use, you should avoid using it unless you get alternate equipment or ensure it’s safe to use.
6. Conduct Research Responsibly
As you will have a research team, you need to designate how you will write the paper. It would help if you decided who the lead author is and subordinates are. There should be no room for conflict of interest in the data collected nor more than two people handling the same responsibility. For example, your partner in the same department is recording the method while you’re administering the medication. You also need to know the legal framework of what your state allows and what the government approves. Thus, as you head towards publication, it will help avoid deceitful data, extracting nonexistent data, or plagiarizing someone else’s work. At the same time, if your research is beneficial for the community, allow other research bodies to study and ask you some questions for future research.
The healthcare sector stands upon the foundation of research. However, these research projects should progress ethically and responsibly. Research can get tedious. The results may not come out accurately, and you may even have to start months of hard work from scratch. Therefore, you need to have a firm conviction to abstain from unethical grounds to yield desired results. These include getting nonconsenting participants, withholding vital information, lying about the credibility of your work, and even falsifying data. It is only through ethical practices and complete transparency that you get valid and honest research publications.