Professional ethics as perceived by American nursing undergraduates


  • Brighid Kelly RN C PhD

    Associate Professor
    1. College of Nursing and Health, William Cooper Procter Hall, Medical Center, University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati, Ohio, 45221-0038, USA
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The purpose of the study was to explore the perceptions of American nursing undergraduates about professional ethics The method was qualitative, specifically, a grounded theory approach was used The sample comprised 23 senior baccalaureate nursing students, from a possible population of 120, who were in their final clinical rotation prior to graduation Informants were volunteers who gave informed consent having been briefed on the purposes of the study and how their confidentiality would be protected Data were collected through audio-taped interviews and clinical logs Analysis was conducted through the constant comparative method Findings revealed two concepts central to their view of good nursing These were (a) respect, and (b) caring Respect was described as respect for patients and families, respect for self, colleagues and the profession Caring was associated with showing ‘concern and love', providing psychological support, getting involved, being ‘cheerful and friendly’ and ‘taking the time’ to do a good job They did not evidence an ambiguous professional role They espoused values consistent with the professional code of ethics They perceived that respect for others was basic to good nursing They believed that good nurses cared about their patients and how nursing was done They appeared to link professionalism with good nursing