Nursing research in palliative care raises specific and challenging ethical issues. Questions have arisen about whether such research is morally justified, given the low likelihood of direct benefit to dying patients as research participants. The Canadian Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses outlines eight primary values intended to guide nursing practice. We use these values to explore the moral dimensions of research with the palliative care population. Our conclusion is that palliative care research is needed to foster excellent care for these patients and their families, but that nurses must remain constantly vigilant to ensure that participants are protected from resultant harms. Through this exploration we highlight particular considerations that nurse researchers must contemplate when accessing a vulnerable population.
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