January 2004

Effect of nurse's attitudes on hospital-based abortion procedures in Massachusetts

Kade K, Kumar D, Polis C, Schaffer K. Effect of nurse's attitudes on hospital-based abortion procedures in Massachusetts. Contraception. 2004; 69(1):59-62

Our study explored a largely unacknowledged obstacle to abortion access in Massachusetts: the unwillingness of nurses to staff abortion procedures. Evidence suggests that nurses tend to be more likely to oppose abortion than other medical professionals. However, the attitudes and practices of hospital-based nurses regarding abortion have not been thoroughly investigated. We collected qualitative information from physicians and nurse managers to understand how nurses' attitudes affect hospital-based abortion services in Massachusetts. We surveyed key respondents at all hospitals in Massachusetts where abortion services are available to any woman who requests them. Of the 20 individuals who responded (87%), 17 were physicians and 3 were nurse managers. We found that over half of physician respondents believed that the unavailability or unwillingness of nurses to staff abortions is a slight or moderate problem, and nearly a quarter of physician respondents characterized it as a large or very large problem. Thus, nurses' attitudes towards abortion and their unwillingness to assist with procedures may hinder patient access to abortion services

Tagged with Abortion, United States