In , the psychiatrist Charles K. Hofling conducted a field experiment on obedience in the nurse-physician relationship. The aim of this. Hospital Under Beds, Hospital Over Beds, Eldercare or Hospice Facility Home > August – Volume – Issue 2 > AN EXPERIMENTAL STUDY IN HOFLING CHARLES K. M.D.; BROTZMAN, EVELINE R.N, M.S.; Diagnosis of Ovarian Cancer and Object Relationships in Early Memories: A Pilot Study. In the original Hofling hospital experiment (). A person would telephone a nurse, saying that he was a doctor and giving a fictitious name, asking the nurse .

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They used a drug known to the nurses Valium instead of a fictitious drug, and somewhat counterintuitively got much lower compliance rates. Leave a Reply Cancel hospotal Enter your comment here The results were very similar each time.

Other than this, I believe the study follows all ethical guidelines to the best of its ability without changing the outcome.

Hofling Hospital Experiment by Kathia Fonseca on Prezi

Views Read Edit View history. However if the medication did have a affect on a patient it may put them at risk. All participants have a right to know about an hoflig.

There may have been deception but you could argue that because they had no idea that the experiment was taking place then they could not be decieved.

August 29, at 1: Deception also occurred as the nurses were not told that the medication was in fact a placebo. A bottle labelled “Astroten” had been placed in the drug cabinet, but there was no drug of that name on the approved list. Amongst the control group, 10 of the 12 graduate nurses and all 21 students said they would not have administered the medication.

The ethical issues surrounding the experiment is very simple. All the nurses were informed about their part in the investigation within 30 minutes.

However the true nature of the experiment was revealed as soon as possible. Another reason why I would not allow this to be repeated is that the protection of participants is not taken into consideration. Also no names were used so they were kept confidential, this is also good because it protects the participants. Confidentiality of the nurse was also considered as her name has not been mentioned, but on the other hand withdrawal from the investigation could have resulted in a worried or embarrassed participant.


Some more experiments proved that most of us obey authority against our will and are reluctant to question authority. Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, There are 6 guidelines that are meant to be followed in relation to ethics when conducting an experiment. The questionnaire proved that people are likely to lie when knowing that they are being monitored or judged. Nobody remembers how that cruel ritual started, what was the reason behind it etc.

The study revealed the danger to patients that existed because the nurses’ view of professional standards induced them to suppress their good judgement. The teacher began by reading the list of pairs to the learner. Under these conditions, only 2 out of 18 nurses prepared the medication as requested. It could have been anyone on the phone and in a real life situation it may cause a deathly over dose to a patient from someone untrained ringing up.

By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. August 8, at 3: The study is unrealistic because nurses would never take an order from an unknown voice over the phone. These measures that have put in place in the Hofling experiment make it more suitable for use in the modern day as it reduces the ethical issues that surround the procedure. There were also restrictions as to how long the process could last and if the nurses consistently refused to give the medicine or became upset the experiment was immediately stopped, which also protected the participants from becoming too uncomfortable.

Most continued after being assured that they would not be held responsible, a few subjects began to laugh nervously or exhibit other signs of extreme stress once they heard the screams of pain coming from the learner. All nurses identities were kept confidential in the study and no-one was named, however the nurses were denied Withdrawal from an investigation as they had no i dea they were being monitored.

So if you wanted to have a particular hospital patient “eliminated”, it seems to me that Hofling provides a simple plan: It is all about the psychological effects the test could have on the unsuspecting subjects. This article needs additional citations for verification. August 28, at 6: I would let someone carry out this hofing today as I believe that it meets enough of the ethical guidelines to be accepted. Horling at any time the subject indicated his desire to halt the experiment, he was given a succession of verbal prods by the experimenter, in this order, the experiment requires that you continue 2.


This article needs additional citations for verification. From birth we are used to taking orders from teachers, parents, elders, bosses etc. In conclusion I would allow the experiment to be repeated as it is not totally unethical, and where it is unethical the participants will not be caused any large, or long term amount of distress.

August 21, at 8: Nonetheless, 21 of 22 nurses complied. This is proved by the contrasting data from the questionnaires and the experiment as in the questionnaires all the nurses baring 2 said they would not have given the medication.

In addition, this shows that the investigation did not cover all of the ethical guidelines that would be apparent today, and therefore the procedure would need changing to ensure that all of the guidelines were covered. Overall i would say that Hofings experiment does not cause the participants distress above what they may experience in everyday life, i would therefore let someone carry out the experiment again provided they updated some of their methods so they are more ethically viable.

For the deception the nurses where not misguided to much but some changes may need to be made.

Hofling Hospital Experiment

It can also show whether nurses would make the effort of questioning why a Doctor would be giving such orders. The teacher was given a list of word pairs that he was to teach the learner. Hpspital would not let someone repeat this experiment today because there are many ethical problems with this investigation. The nurses also received a debriefing within half an hour which made it less likely that the participants would nofling anxious or guilty of what they had done.

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