Skip to main content

Daniel Wu: Difference in Ethical Priorities in the National Health Service

Daniel WuThe aim of my research project was to identify areas of difference in the ethical priorities of healthcare professionals (doctors, nurses, staff) and healthcare administrators (policymakers and managers) in the context of pediatric palliative care (PPC). Specifically, the project focused on the topics of patient autonomy, futility, benevolence, and resource allocation. Interviews and surveys were conducted on-site in London with various hospitals in the National Health Service (NHS) including the Great Ormond Street Hospital, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, among other healthcare organizations.

Results showed that healthcare administrators generally saw their policy as representing the interests of doctors and patients, while healthcare professionals showed more variable responses. Furthermore, healthcare administrators typically framed moral and ethical dilemmas in the context of the system and evaluated how different decisions affected patients across the system and the system itself, while healthcare professionals typically focused on the patient, family, and immediate staff as the primary stakeholders. The results showed a discrepancy between the problem- solving and policy development strategy between policy makers and their stakeholders. Recommendations included extensive data collection from relevant stakeholders, recruitment of stakeholders in future policy development efforts, and an iterative revision process to improve existing policy.

This project allowed me to pursue my research interests beyond the classroom. I created the time line and objectives of this project, coordinated and conducted interviews, and produced a report I am very proud of. I learned much more through this research project than the topic itself —I developed time management, networking, and professional skills. It was an incredible opportunity to take hold of a passion, demonstrate ownership and capacity, and be trusted to complete a research project independently. I am enormously grateful to have had an opportunity to do research in a field that I find particularly important and is particularly under-researched. This research experience was an important differentiating factor in landing a position at the consulting management firm where I will be working at after graduation. Recruiters specifically noted this research experience showed my ability to create a project, demonstrate resiliency, and develop extensive professional networking skills.

Thank you so much for choosing to supplement the Northwestern undergraduate academic experience in and beyond the classroom through your generous giving.