Nursing students and teaching of codes of ethics: an empirical research study.Int Nurs Rev. 2009 Dec; 56(4):483-90.IN
To explore graduating nursing students' perception of nurse educators' teaching of codes of ethics in polytechnics providing basic nursing education in Finland.
Codes of ethics are regarded as an essential content in most nursing ethics curricula. However, little is known about how their teaching is implemented.
Descriptive, cross-sectional design was used in this study. A total of 214 nursing students responded to a structured questionnaire with one open-ended question. The data was analysed statistically by SPSS and content analysis.
Students perceived teaching of the codes as fairly extensive. The emphasis was on the nurse-patient relationship. Less attention was paid to nursing in wider social contexts. Educators' use of teaching and evaluation methods was narrow. Students whose teaching had been integrated into clinical training perceived that teaching had been more extensive. However, students did not perceive integration to clinical training as a much used teaching format. Students assessed their own knowledge and ability to apply the codes as mediocre. Those educators, whose knowledge about the codes students had assessed as adequate, were also perceived to teach the codes more extensively.
Regardless of the responding students' positive description of the teaching, the findings should be interpreted with caution, due to the students' limited interest to respond. In teaching ethics, particular attention should be paid to more versatile use of teaching and evaluation methods, organization of integrated teaching, educators' competence in ethics, and student outcomes so that the importance of ethics would come across to all nursing students.