Nursing Ethics Education and Practice in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria

Kalada Godson McFubara, PhD, Augustina Chikaodili Isabu, PhD


Whereas nursing profession helps the well and the sick regain independence as rapidly as possible, nursing ethics education provides the basis for effective professional practice.

Objectives: This study sought to identify factors affecting nursing ethics education and to describe impact of nursing ethics education on nursing practice.

Method: A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted, and two sets of questionnaires were developed and administered, one to 80 final year nursing students, the other to 60 nursing teachers in four universities. The questionnaires had 18 and 21 question items respectively covering demography of the respondents, knowledge from ethics education, factors affecting ethics education and impact of ethics education on nursing practice. Nominal scale data were collected and analyzed on a Microsoft Excel spread sheet. Frequencies and percentages of responses were calculated and tabulated under question categories.

Results: Response rate was 86.3% for students and 51.7% for teachers. Although nursing ethics education is provided as a whole semester course, 51% of students and 80% of the teachers erroneously understand ethics as adherence to professional code of conduct. Even so 70% of both respondent groups were prepared to practice effective nursing. Meanwhile 82% of the students and 53% of teachers were of the view that professional negligence is a major ethical issue in practice.

Conclusion: The nursing profession is committed to providing ethical practice, but the practitioners and their trainees lack the correct knowledge of what ethics really means. Due to this incorrect knowledge undue attention is being given to professional negligence. It is a challenge and may be giving rise to a protectionist practice. The inclusion of specialists in ethics or moral philosophy to teach nursing ethics as well as the adoption of dialogic and case study methods of teaching will avoid these challenges and enhance the proper understanding and application of principles and theories of ethics in nursing practice.

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Copyright (c) 2019 Kalada Godson McFubara, PhD, Augustina Chikaodili Isabu, PhD

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