Nurse Educators' Description of Ethics from a Disciplinary Perspective
AbstractPurpose/Specific Aims: A qualitative descriptive research design was employed to gain insights in how nurse educators describe nursing ethics from a disciplinary perspective and how they teach nursing ethics in a pre-licensure nursing program. The study aimed to identify how nurse educators describe ethical knowledge needed for nursing practice and how nursing ethics is viewed in relation to bio, medical and healthcare ethics. Rationale/Significance of Study: Recent works in nursing ethics has provided some clarity about what is needed to develop nurses who are confident in using ethical decision-making in every-day practice. Nurse educators are responsible for the development of novice nurses who can effectively practice from a disciplinary perspective rooted in nursing ethics. To date, there is scant research exploring nurse educators’ understanding of what constitutes disciplinary specific ethics and impact on daily nursing practice. This study is a necessary first step to identify how nurse educators understand the ethical warrants of their profession and the ways in which this is, or is not, transmitted to nursing students. Sample and Recruitment: Nurse educators teaching in baccalaureate nurse programs in the US were purposely recruited through the Nurse Educators Group in Facebook, with subsequent snowball sampling. The final sample consisted of 16 nurse educators who met inclusion criteria and agreed to participate in the study. Data Analysis: Data was collected using open-ended interview questions and analyzed using conventional content analysis. Data was clustered into “meaning units” from which codes and categories were derived. Codes and categories were further reexamined several times to determine if the analysis accurately portrayed the data. The codes were then developed into themes that expressed the manifestation of the content. Findings: Four major themes were identified during data analysis. They include: Inherent personal qualities guide nurses’ sense of professional ethics, The ethical nurse is a ‘good’ nurse as reflected in their practice, Disciplinary nursing ethics is not discernable from other ethics, and Nursing ethics education is inconsistent across schools of nursing. Conclusions: Findings reveal there is no common viewpoint and a lack of conceptual disciplinary language of what constitutes nursing ethics among nurse educators. The research presented here suggests there is a gap in theory and practice with respect to nursing ethics in daily practice, with implications in policy, further research and nursing education.