DOI: 10.5176/2315-4330_WNC16.8

Authors: Hirokazu Ito, Yuko Yasuhara, Tetsuya Tanioka, Kyoko Osaka, Rozzano Locsin


Medical and welfare robot development is accelerating rapidly to produce intelligent robots. In Japan, clinical application trials have been initiated in many health care facilities. For providing support to patients, nursing robots can mimic the sensitivity of human interactions, and possess human-like skin with highly sensitive sensors in order to make safe physical contact with patients, particularly for such actions as to move them. Communication robots or powered exoskeleton suits are now commercialized and generally available. However, with all these advances, research on the ethical dilemmas of human-nurse and robot-patient interactions have not been forthcoming in current nursing literature. How can intelligent machines communicate decisive interventions maintaining fidelity in human caring activities? The purpose of this study was to clarify the ethical dilemmas that nurses and engineers may have regarding nursing robot development and utilization. Questionnaire survey was conducted. Participants were professional nurses, student and professional engineers who participated in international conferences in Japan, Thailand, China, Philippines and Taiwan. Out of 600 questionnaire copies distributed, 414 were returned (69.0{6e6090cdd558c53a8bc18225ef4499fead9160abd3419ad4f137e902b483c465} response rate). Valid responses were 386 questionnaire copies. The results revealed that on the “interest in human-nurse robots” (HNR), nurses showed significantly higher interest than the engineers. On the question "Did you know that robots will be introduced into the medical environment?" nurses responded highly significant than the engineers. However, on ‘acceptance of being cared for by HNRs”, nurses responded negatively higher than the engineers. There is great interest in HNRs both from the development (engineering) and utilization (nurses) perspective. However nurses more than engineers, do not want to be cared for by HNRs. Concerns regarding safety, precision of care, likelihood of erroneous interventions are identified issues influencing applications of HNRs. In the future, it will it be about increasing interest on the development and utilization of HNRs, but about ethical concerns in the application of artificially intelligent humanoid robots that may be responsible for human caring activities. Further studies about specific ethico-moral content may be necessary for the realization of HNRs and their corresponding human-caring activities.

Keywords: human-nursing robot; nurse; engineer; ethics; caring, nursing

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