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Posted: May 12th, 2023

Ethical Behavior in Nursing Master’s Programs and Nursing Practice

Ethical Behavior in Nursing Master’s Programs and Nursing Practice

Introduction

The nursing profession is anchored on ethical principles and practices. Nursing Master’s program students and nurse practitioners should uphold ethical behavior and practices to promote the profession’s integrity, reputation, and advance patient care. Ethical behavior and practices in nursing education programs ensure that students acquire quality education that equips them with the necessary skills for competent nursing practice. Ethical behavior in nursing practice ensures that nurses navigate complex moral dilemmas, provide safe and effective care, and uphold patients’ interests. This article discusses ethical behavior in nursing Master’s programs and nursing practice, including examples of unethical behavior, its adverse effects, and the importance of upholding ethical conduct in the nursing profession.

Ethical Behavior in Nursing Master’s Programs

Ethical behavior in nursing Master’s programs ensures that students acquire quality education that equips them with the necessary skills for competent nursing practice. Nursing Master’s programs must adhere to the set rules and regulations and accreditation standards to ensure quality education. According to Taghadosi, Valiee, and Aghajani (2021), ethical practices in nursing education programs ensure that students acquire the necessary knowledge, skills, and attitudes to provide safe and effective care.

However, unethical behavior in nursing Master’s programs takes different forms, undermining patient care. For instance, students may fabricate research data by making up or falsifying research project data (Kang & Hwang, 2020). Fabricated data undermines the nursing program’s credibility and the research process’s integrity, leading to severe consequences for students and the nursing profession.

Kang and Hwang (2020) argue that students fabricate research data to achieve better grades or pass research projects. This unethical behavior dents the nursing profession’s reputation and integrity. Fabricated data and subsequent recommendations undermine the provision of safe care when published or used in evidence-based practice that relies on research evidence to advance patient care. Students who fabricate data may face severe consequences, such as failing the research project, suspension, or expulsion from the program.

Unethical Behavior in Nursing Practice

Unethical behavior in nursing practice undermines patient care and exposes nurses to disciplinary actions, loss of practice license, penalties, and lawsuits. Nurses must demonstrate ethical behavior when providing healthcare services to patients. Discriminatory behavior, for instance, is an example of unethical behavior that exposes nurses to severe consequences. Discriminatory behavior denies patients access to quality healthcare services and undermines the nursing profession’s integrity.

According to Rafii, Ghezeljeh, and Nasrollah (2019), discrimination occurs when nurses deny healthcare services to patients based on protected characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, and cultural beliefs, among others. Discrimination exposes patients to physical and psychological torture and hinders access to care. Discriminatory behavior also undermines the provision of safe patient care and dents the nursing profession’s reputation and integrity.

Nurses who engage in discriminatory behavior expose themselves to disciplinary actions, loss of practice license, penalties, and lawsuits. Discrimination violates patients’ rights and denies them access to quality healthcare services. In addition, discrimination exposes patients to physical and psychological torture, affecting their health outcomes. Patients who experience discrimination lose trust in the healthcare system, hindering access to quality care.

Adverse Effects of Unethical Behavior

Unethical behavior in nursing Master’s programs and nursing practice has adverse effects on nurses and patients. In nursing Master’s programs, unethical behavior such as fabricating research data undermines the nursing program’s credibility and the research process’s integrity. It also exposes students to severe consequences, such as failing the research project, suspension, or expulsion from the program. Fabricated data also undermines the provision of safe care when published or used in evidence-based practice that relies on research evidence to advance patient care.

In nursing practice, unethical behavior can take many forms, and it is essential to understand them to promote ethical behavior and ensure that patients receive the highest level of care. One example of unethical behavior in nursing practice is the violation of patient confidentiality. Confidentiality is a fundamental principle in nursing that ensures that patients’ personal and medical information is kept private. Nurses have a legal and ethical obligation to maintain patient confidentiality, and any breach of this obligation can have severe consequences for both the nurse and the patient (Stewart, 2017).

Patient confidentiality breaches can occur in many ways, such as discussing patient information with unauthorized individuals, leaving patient information in an area where it can be accessed by unauthorized persons, or posting patient information on social media. These breaches can lead to a loss of trust between the patient and the nurse and can also result in legal and disciplinary actions against the nurse. Patient confidentiality breaches can also harm patients as their personal information can be used against them, leading to discrimination, stigmatization, and other adverse effects.

Another form of unethical behavior in nursing practice is neglecting patient care. Neglecting patient care can occur when nurses fail to provide patients with the care they need, such as administering medications, monitoring vital signs, or providing assistance with activities of daily living. Neglecting patient care can occur due to various factors, such as inadequate staffing, lack of training, and personal issues (Nweze, 2019).

Neglecting patient care can have dire consequences, such as worsening of the patient’s condition, delay in recovery, and in severe cases, death. Neglecting patient care can also lead to legal and disciplinary actions against the nurse, tarnishing the nursing profession’s reputation and integrity. Therefore, it is essential to promote ethical behavior in nursing practice to ensure that patients receive the highest level of care and to uphold the nursing profession’s reputation and integrity.

One more example of unethical behavior in nursing practice is practicing beyond the scope of practice. Nurses have a defined scope of practice that outlines the specific activities they are authorized to perform. Practicing beyond the scope of practice can occur when nurses perform activities that are outside their authorized scope of practice or when they provide care without the necessary training and expertise (Nwosu, 2021).

Practicing beyond the scope of practice can lead to adverse outcomes for patients, such as medication errors, misdiagnosis, and inappropriate treatment. It can also lead to disciplinary and legal actions against the nurse, and in severe cases, loss of license and termination of employment. Practicing beyond the scope of practice undermines the nursing profession’s credibility and integrity, and it is essential to promote ethical behavior and adherence to the scope of practice to ensure patients’ safety and uphold the nursing profession’s reputation.

In conclusion, ethical behavior in nursing education programs and nursing practice is crucial to ensure that patients receive the highest level of care and uphold the nursing profession’s integrity and reputation. Ethical behavior promotes patient safety, trust, and satisfaction, and it also promotes the nurses’ and students’ personal and professional development. Unethical behavior in nursing education programs and nursing practice undermines patient care, exposes nurses and students to legal and disciplinary actions, and damages the nursing profession’s reputation and integrity. Therefore, it is essential to promote ethical behavior and adherence to ethical standards in nursing education programs and nursing practice to ensure that patients receive the highest level of care and uphold the nursing profession’s reputation and integrity.

References:

Nweze, S. O. (2019). Nursing ethics: A look at the code of ethics by the Nigerian Nurses Association. Journal of Medical Ethics and History of Medicine, 12(1), 1-8.

Nwosu, O. (2021). Scope of nursing practice: knowledge, beliefs, and practices of nurses in Nigeria.

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