Method The procedure involved a naturalistic field experiment involving 22 real night nurses. Smith a stooge phones the nurses at hospital on 22 separate occasions and asks them to check to see if they have the drug astroten. When the nurse checks she can see that the maximum dosage is supposed to be 10mg. Smith was in a desperate hurry and he would sign the authorization form when he came to see Mr. Jones later on. The nurses were watched to see what they would do.

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The bottle had been surreptitiously placed in the drug cabinet, but the "drug" was not on the approved list. It was clearly labelled that 10 mg was the maximum daily dose. The experimental protocol was explained to a group of nurses and nursing students, who were asked to predict how many nurses would give the drug to the patient. Of the twelve nurses, ten said they would not do it.

All twenty-one nursing students said they would refuse to administer the drug. Hofling then selected 22 nurses at a hospital in the United States for the actual experiment. They were each called by an experimenter with the alias of Dr. Smith who said that he would be around to write up the paperwork as soon as he got to the hospital. The nurses were stopped at the door to the patient room before they could administer the "drug".

There were several reasons that the nurses should have refused to obey the authority. The dosage they were instructed to administer was twice that of the recommended safe daily dosage. Hospital protocol stated that nurses should only take instructions from doctors known to them, therefore they should definitely not have followed instructions given by an unknown doctor over the phone.

The drug was not on their list of drugs to be administered that day and the required paperwork to be filled before drug administration was not completed. Findings Hofling found that 21 out of the 22 nurses would have given the patient an overdose of medicine.

None of the investigators, and only one experienced nurse who examined the protocol in advance, correctly guessed the experimental results.

He also found that all 22 nurses whom he had given the questionnaire to had said they would not obey the orders of the doctor, and that 10 out of the 22 nurses had done this before, with a different drug. Conclusions The nurses were thought to have allowed themselves to be deceived because of their high opinions of the standards of the medical profession.

Books Basic Psychiatric Concepts in Nursing Charles K. Hofling, Madeleine M. Leininger, Elizabeth Bregg. Lippencott, 2nd ed. Lippencott, 3rd ed. Hofling, editors. American College of Psychiatrists. Hofling and J. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease External links.


The Hofling Nurse Study

Over a decade after the war had ended, they watched as war criminals sat on trial and defended or confronted their actions. He conducted a series of experiments that looked at obedience in the face of authority. The results were unsettling. Even in the face of potentially harming another person, people were surprisingly unwilling to question authority and more likely to follow orders without protest. In short, they involved human participants who thought they were administering up to volt shocks into another participant. Since the 60s, social psychologists have had to take a deep look into the ethics of using humans in potentially traumatic studies.


Hofling hospital experiment explained

But what if people did understand what they were doing? As it turns out, that could actually make things even worse. Advertisement In , the phone rang at Hofling Hospital. A night nurse picked up the phone and heard a harried doctor ask her to administer 20 milligrams of astroten to Mr. The nurse checked for the medication, which was not on the official list of drugs approved for use in the hospital. The box containing the drug showed that 10 milligrams was the maximum dose. A little prodding from Dr.


Hofling Hospital Experiment

Hofling hospital experiment explained In , the psychiatrist Charles K. Hofling conducted a field experiment on obedience in the nurse-physician relationship. In spite of official guidelines forbidding administration in such circumstances, Hofling found that 21 out of the 22 nurses would have given the patient an overdose of medicine. A bottle labelled "Astroten" had been placed in the drug cabinet, but there was no drug of that name on the approved list. The label clearly stated that 10 mg was the maximum daily dose.


Hofling hospital experiment

Statistical Tests Hofling Aim: To see whether nurses would follow orders given by an authority figure doctor when the orders are given over the phone and would be breaking regulations. To study obedience in a real life setting Procedure: Involved both public and private hospital wards. In Hospital 1: 21 student nurses and 12 graduate nurses were asked to complete a questionnaire asking them what they would do if confronted by the experimental situation. This was a control group to make comparisons. In the other hospitals 22 nurses took part in the field experiment which was covert nurses did not know they were in a study. While alone on the night shift 7pm — 9pm the nurses received a phone call from a unknown doctor asking them to administer a drug to a patient - astroten.

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