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Protection of Humans During Research

In human research, ethics and the focus on non-maleficence must always remain a priority. Unfortunately, ensuring that the rights of patients are appreciated and advocated for in the nursing context is not always possible. Over the past century, a range of atrocities have been committed in the name of medical research; therefore, it is vital to embrace the lessons learned and ensure that these tragic misjudgments should not be repeated. By prioritizing wellbeing of patients and the importance of human life, as well as the need to alleviate suffering, nurses will be able to ensure that human subjects are properly protected during research.

The need to view all patients as equal and cater to their needs accordingly without deeming any of them as less worthy of living is the principal concept that might seem to obvious that it should not warrant a discussion. However, as “Caring corrupted: The killing nurses of the Third Reich” shows, the idea of eugenics and the resulting notion of killing those that do not seem to fit the principle of the survival of the fittest may fit the narrative of some of the most despicably oppressive political regimes (Cizik School of Nursing, 2017). Therefore, the sanctity of the human life and the principle of non-maleficence must be prioritized among nurses.

The notorious Third Reich has also supplied another example of how nursing research must not be conducted under any circumstances. Namely, the complete lack of ethics and the propensity to view the test subjects as objects devoid of humanity is another example of why ethics in research must be prioritized (Daigle, 2017). Following the same narrative of non-maleficence, the lesson learned from the information obtained from Nurnberg Trials proves that nursing research must view its participants as people with their irrefutable rights and needs.

In turn, the Belmont Report adds the dimension of justice to the issues listed above as the foundational standards for nursing research. Specifically, the Belmont Report provides speculations regarding the ethical tradition of the western culture and the role that irrefutable human rights play in it (irbmed, 2011). With the help of the Belmont Report, the boundaries of biomedical and behavioral research have been defined along with the role of risk-benefit assessment (irbmed, 2011). Similarly, the report indicates that patients deserve to be provided with autonomy and justice. The second part of the Belmont Report (Part Two: Applying the Principles) shows how the outlined ideas can b implemented in the nursing setting. Specifically, the role of nursing values and guidelines is emphasized as the cornerstone for building a responsible approach.

Finally, the Guiding Principles of Institutional Review Boards (IRB) provides vital information about the application of essential nursing values and ethical standards to nursing research. Similarly to the previous videos, the role of appreciation for human dignity and the significance of risk assessment prior to conducting the study are emphasized (Johns Hopkins Medicine, 2015).

By centering human rights and focusing on maintaining patients’ well-being, one can ensure that research is conducted ethically and that no participant has been harmed in the course of the study. As the examples listed above have shown, it is vital to distance science from a political ideology and pursue the same principles of beneficence, nonmaleficence, and focus on promoting improvements in health no matter in what political circumstances the research is conducted. Thus, the human rights of the participants will be protected fully.


Cizik School of Nursing. (2017). Caring corrupted: The killing nurses of the Third Reich. YouTube.

Daigle, D. (2017). Research ethics involving human subjects. YouTube.

irbmed. (2011). The Belmont Report (Part one: Basic ethical principles). YouTube.

irbmed. (2011). The Belmont Report (Part two: Applying the principles). YouTube.

Johns Hopkins Medicine. (2015). Guiding principles of institutional review boards (IRB). YouTube.

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