ICNE YALE #98
ETHICAL PROBLEMS ENCOUNTERED BY NURSING STUDENTS IN TURKEY
Fethiye Erdil and Fatos Korkmaz
Nursing students increasingly encounter ethical problems during their clinical practice which sometimes infringe the rights of patients. However, so far there is no study in Turkey on the extent of problems from the perspective of nursing students, as well as how nurses are involved in ethical decision making process. This study is conducted at Hacettepe University Health Science Faculty Nursing Department with the aim of identifying the ethical problems confronted by nursing students. Eighty-four third class and 69 senior nursing students were volunteers to participate in this ...view middle of the document...
We believe that the results of this study will contribute to the enrichment of the ethical content of nursing curriculum.
Key Words: nursing students, nursing ethics, patient rights, ethical reasoning
Nursing is a profession that requires alleviating the pain and promoting the health of others. Since the primary aim of nursing is the goodness of others, it is a value laden profession. This specific nature of nursing requires nurses to do what is right during their practice. However, everyday nurses encounter complex situations and conflicts which can not be resolved only through theoretical knowledge and skills. Such situations may involve moral components that require the skills of ethical decision making for nurses. Yet, learning the skills of ethical decision making can not be enough to resolve ethical problems due to many factors including the complex nature of a given problem.
Nurse students often come into nurse education without any professional knowledge and consciousness, and socializing into the norms of nursing profession takes time. Furthermore developing an ethical sensitivity toward the moral problems in nursing practice requires additional knowledge on ethics, human and patient rights, and codes of ethics for nurses, and developing the skills of critical thinking. Even equipped with such a knowledge and skills, ethical decision making still requires real life experiences and good role models. For this reason, although ethics has been part of the nursing curriculum in many countries students lack the professional experience and legal authority to make ethical decisions. Therefore it is likely that they can not be able to distinguish the moral component of a problem and be involved in the process of ethical decision making. Under these circumstances, students may experience feelings of helpless and powerlessness and frustration when they encountered ethical problems.
In Turkey, since the establishment of the first nursing high school in 1925, there was an effort toward higher education in nursing. In 1955, the first nursing school that offered baccalaureate degree has been opened at university and by 1990 most of the nursing schools integrated ethics into the curriculum. In 2002, a national core nursing curriculum has been prepared which indicates that nursing education should guarantee sufficient knowledge about the nature and ethics of profession as well as general principles governing the provision of health care1. Today, ethics are part of all nursing programs in Turkey even though the backgrounds of teachers, educational resources and teaching methods vary widely across the country. However, students in nursing programs of Turkey are not exceptional from the above mentioned problems. Although most of the nursing students acquire the necessary knowledge and skills on ethics during the theoretical courses, they feel incapable and stressed while observing unresolved ethical problems at their clinical...