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BOŻENA MROCZEK

RESPECTING RIGHTS OF HOSPITALIZED CHILDREN

Summary
Child rights are nowadays an important social, pedagogic, legal, and moral topic. Practical implementation of provisions included in the "Convention on the Rights of the Child" is far from perfect and requires a change in the way of thinking. For this purpose, the rights of the child have to be universally known and consequently enforced. The aim of this study was to examine the implementation at pediatric wards of the right of the child for respect. Personal traits and the hierarchy of values of the nurse, as well as material and organizational conditions at the ward were studied. The study protocol was directed at revealing the extent to which the child’s right for respect is observed, with reference to the work of Janusz Korczak and provisions of the said Convention. The rights analyzed belong either to the "soft" class as defined in articles 12 to 16 and article 31 or to the "hard" class defined in articles 6, 7, 9, and 24 of the Convention. The assumption that core values exert a strong influence on psychic processes, such as thinking, perception, emotions, motivations, attitudes and behavior of the nurses failed to find empirical support. The hierarchy of values of the nurse does not lend firm support to the right of the child for respect in the hospital setting. The awareness of the nurse regarding child rights is at an average level. In consequence, observance of some of the rights is poor, exposing the child to an intuitive, often routine approach by the nurse. Nurse awareness was found to depend on age, position, and length of service, but not on education level. In conclusion, the observance of child rights by the medical personnel should be reviewed regularly and legal issues associated with child rights should be part of the study curriculum at nursing schools. The chief nurse should tighten control over her staff as regards implementation of child rights and performance under provisions of the Nurse and Midwife Act.
 
K e y w o r d s : child rights - Janusz Korczak - Convention on the Rights of the Child - right of the child for respect - "soft" and "hard" rights - nurse awareness - value hierarchy.

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