Annual report 2021 – NOPHO/NOBOS Working Group on Ethics (WGE)

Chair: Lisa Törnudd, Sweden, elected 2018
Secretary: Cecilia Bartholdson, Sweden, elected 2018
Denmark: Trine Brøner
Gitte Petersen
Astrid Sehested
Pernille Wendtland Edslev
Finland: Marika Grönroos
Kristian Juusola
Johanna Viitanen
Iceland: Sigrún Thoroddsdóttir
Norway: Grete Ringheim
Anne Gro Wesenberg
Sweden: Johan Arvidson
Anders Castor
Frans Nilsson
Pernilla Pergert
Jennie Stigmar

The intention of the NOPHO/NOBOS Working Group on Ethics (WGE) is to support the knowledge in ethics and promote clinical ethics support (CES) in paediatric oncology as well as identifying and raising ethical questions within the field.
The members should preferably include both nurses and physicians from all Nordic countries. All members are expected to be active. The newest NOPHO-member, Lithuania, is not yet represented in the working group but this will hopefully change in the future.


The working group has a plan to meet twice a year, one 2-day meeting and one 3-day meeting. Due to the pandemic, there has been no meetings during 2020. Most hospitals have had a very restrictive policy on meetings, even virtual, as all efforts has been aimed at caring for patients and co-workers during the pandemic.
Members, inspired and enabled by their participation in the WGE, continues to perform CES locally at the extent that this has been possible. Many local projects
(including organizing and facilitating ECR rounds on several levels in the healthcare structure; arranging and contributing to ethical education of healthcare professionals and students; serving as members on European, national, regional and local ethics committees or societies; preforming and contributing to research projects) have had to be adapted to the current situation or paused due to the strain on healthcare during the pandemic.
The WGE has been an expert reference group in a Nordic research project performed in the framework of NOPHO and NOBOS on communication over language barriers, moral distress, and the ethical climate in childhood cancer care. In the beginning of 2020, data collection was finalized in Finland and Denmark. Due to the pandemic, data collection in Norway has been delayed.
Since 2017 a two-part course in guiding ethics case reflection (ECR) rounds has been offered. The course that started in 2019 was planned to be completed in 2020 but had to be postponed due to the pandemic and is now planned to be completed during 2021. An interactive webinar has been held as a temporary substitute.

Upcoming meetings of the WGE

The group plans to resume meeting, in person or virtually, as soon as the circumstances allow.

Upcoming course arranged by the WGE

The course Guiding Ethics Case Reflection Rounds, part II will be held in May or September 2021, if circumstances allow.


Pergert (co-applicant: Castor) has received a grant for the WGE for 2018-2020 (PL2017-0002) from the Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation. Since most activities budgeted for in 2020 has been postponed an application to extend the grant to include 2021 has been sent and approved.

Publications on clinical ethics from the group or with group members as co-authors, Original articles 2020-21
• Weiner, C., Pergert, P., Molewijk, B., Castor, A. & Bartholdson C. Perceptions of important outcomes of ethics case reflection rounds: a qualitative study among healthcare professionals in childhood cancer care. BMC Medical Ethics 2021; Accepted for publication.
• Bartholdson, C., af Sandeberg, M., Molewijk, B. & Pergert, P. Does participation in ethics discussions have in impact on ethics decision making? A cross-sectional study among healthcare professionals in paediatric oncology. European Journal of Oncology Nursing 2021; Accepted.
• Ventovaara, P., af Sandeberg, M., Räsänen, J., Pergert, P. Ethical climate and moral distress in paediatric oncology nursing. Nursing Ethics 2021; Online ahead of print. DOI: 10.1177/0969733021994169
• af Sandeberg, M., Bartholdson, C. & Pergert, P. Important situations that capture moral distress in paediatric oncology. BMC Med Ethics. 2020 Jan;21(1):6. DOI: 10.1186/s12910-020-0447-x

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