Healthcare students' ethical considerations of care robots in the Netherlands

Margo A.M. van Kemenade*, Johan F. Hoorn, Elly A. Konijn

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Older adults are a rapidly growing group world-wide, requiring an increasing amount of healthcare. Technological innovations such as care robots may support the growing demand for care. However, hardly any studies address those who will most closely collaborate with care robots: the (trainee) healthcare professional. Methods: This study examined the moral considerations, perceptions of utility, and acceptance among trainee healthcare professionals toward different types of care robots in an experimental questionnaire design (N = 357). We also examined possible differences between participants' intermediate and higher educational levels. Results: The results show that potential maleficence of care robots dominated the discussion in both educational groups. Assisting robots were seen as potentially the most maleficent. Both groups deemed companion robots least maleficent and most acceptable, while monitoring robots were perceived as least useful. Results further show that the acceptance of robots in care was more strongly associated with the participants' moral considerations than with utility. Conclusions: Professional care education should include moral considerations and utility of robotics as emerging care technology. The healthcare and nursing students of today will collaborate with the robotic colleagues of tomorrow.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1712
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Early online date20 Sept 2018
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018


Funding: This study is part of the SELEMCA project (Services of Electro-Mechanical Care Agencies, grant NWO 646.000.003), which was funded within the Creative Industry Scientific Programme (CRISP) and supported by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. An additional contribution was funded by a personal grant to the first author from the Central Board of InHolland, University of Applied Sciences, and matched by a grant of the VU University to the third author.

FundersFunder number
Central Board of InHolland
Hague University of Applied Sciences
Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam
Ministerie van Onderwijs, Cultuur en Wetenschap
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek646.000.003


    • Ageing
    • Care education;moral perceptions
    • Healthcare robots
    • Healthcare/nursing professionals
    • Technology acceptance


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