Ethical Considerations for Industry Sponsorship

Industry sponsorship consists of any interest: personal; business; commercial; political; academic; or financial offered by a private, for-profit, or commercial enterprise as part of its marketing and public relations efforts. When encountering industry sponsorship, Registered Nurses (RN) and Nurse Practitioners (NP) must be aware of conflicts of interest. A conflict of interest can be an actual, perceived or potential conflict between the professional duty of an RN or NP and their private interests. A conflict of interest can occur when the RN or NP is in a position to make a decision based upon what is beneficial to their individual interests (i.e., deriving personal benefit [Traversy et al., 2021]) and not in the best interest of the client.

RNs and NPs can engage in ethical considerations for industry sponsorship to ensure safe, competent and ethical care for clients in Saskatchewan by:

  • Reflecting on and practicing according to current SRNA practice documents, including:
    • The Registered Nurses Act, 1988; SRNA bylaws; CNA Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses; Registered Nurse Practice Standards; Registered Nurse Entry-Level Competencies; Registered Nurse (Nurse Practitioner) Practice Standards; Registered Nurse (Nurse Practitioner) Entry-Level Competencies; and other SRNA documents as appropriate.
  • Understanding the employer’s conflict of interest policy. If a conflict of interest policy does not exist, advocate for policy that addresses conflict of interest.
  • Identifying and seeking to avoid conflict of interest to ensure the maintenance of public trust.
    • Any conflict of interest must be resolved in favour of the interest of the client receiving care.
  • Being fully transparent and fully disclosing any actual, perceived or potential conflict of interest when engaging in industry sponsorship.

This nursing practice update replaces the former SRNA Ethics Guidelines for Industry Sponsorship, 2015.

Questions or comments are welcome and can be directed to practiceadvice@srna.org or by phone: 306.359.4200 or 1.800.667.9945 (toll-free within Canada).

Resources:
RN Practice Standards
RN Entry-Level Competencies
CNA Code of Ethics (2017)
Registered Nurse (Nurse Practitioner) Entry-level Competencies (ELC)s SRNA
Registered Nurse (Nurse Practitioner) Practice Standards SRNA
Self-Employed Practice Guideline

Reference:
Traversy, G., Barnieh, L., Akl, E. A., Allan, G. M., Brouwers, M., Ganache, I., … & Tonelli, M. (2021). Managing conflicts of interest in the development of health guidelines. CMAJ, 193(2), E49-E54.

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