Journal of Nursing Education

Major Articles 

The Moral Development of Baccalaureate Nursing Students: Understanding Unethical Behavior in Classroom and Clinical Settings

Pamela E. Baxter, PhD, RN; Sheryl L. Boblin, PhD, RN

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Unethical behavior in both classroom and clinical settings is a concern for nurse educators and has the potential to greatly influence the quality of patient care. A review of the literature suggests that students may view unethical clinical behaviors as different from unethical classroom behaviors because they recognize that clinical behaviors may have a direct effect on patient care. An overview of three moral theories, proposed by Kohlberg, Gilligan, and Rest, provides insight into the reasons for unethical behavior. These theories provide the foundation for strategies nurse educators can use to help reduce unethical behavior in both classroom and clinical settings in an attempt to ensure quality patient care.

AUTHORS

Received: August 17, 2005

Accepted: February 15, 2006

Dr. Baxter is Assistant Professor and Dr. Boblin is Associate Professor, McMaster University, School of Nursing, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Address correspondence to Pamela E. Baxter, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, McMaster University, School of Nursing, 1200 Main Street West, HHS Building 2J34H, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5; e-mail: baxterp@mcmaster.ca.

Abstract

ABSTRACT

Unethical behavior in both classroom and clinical settings is a concern for nurse educators and has the potential to greatly influence the quality of patient care. A review of the literature suggests that students may view unethical clinical behaviors as different from unethical classroom behaviors because they recognize that clinical behaviors may have a direct effect on patient care. An overview of three moral theories, proposed by Kohlberg, Gilligan, and Rest, provides insight into the reasons for unethical behavior. These theories provide the foundation for strategies nurse educators can use to help reduce unethical behavior in both classroom and clinical settings in an attempt to ensure quality patient care.

AUTHORS

Received: August 17, 2005

Accepted: February 15, 2006

Dr. Baxter is Assistant Professor and Dr. Boblin is Associate Professor, McMaster University, School of Nursing, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Address correspondence to Pamela E. Baxter, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, McMaster University, School of Nursing, 1200 Main Street West, HHS Building 2J34H, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5; e-mail: baxterp@mcmaster.ca.

ABSTRACT

Unethical behavior in both classroom and clinical settings is a concern for nurse educators and has the potential to greatly influence the quality of patient care. A review of the literature suggests that students may view unethical clinical behaviors as different from unethical classroom behaviors because they recognize that clinical behaviors may have a direct effect on patient care. An overview of three moral theories, proposed by Kohlberg, Gilligan, and Rest, provides insight into the reasons for unethical behavior. These theories provide the foundation for strategies nurse educators can use to help reduce unethical behavior in both classroom and clinical settings in an attempt to ensure quality patient care.

AUTHORS

Received: August 17, 2005

Accepted: February 15, 2006

Dr. Baxter is Assistant Professor and Dr. Boblin is Associate Professor, McMaster University, School of Nursing, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

Address correspondence to Pamela E. Baxter, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor, McMaster University, School of Nursing, 1200 Main Street West, HHS Building 2J34H, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada L8N 3Z5; e-mail: baxterp@mcmaster.ca.

10.3928/01484834-20070101-05

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