Ethical issues in practice: A survey of home-visiting nurses in Japan


Kiyomi Asahara, St Luke's College of Nursing, 10-1 Akashicho, Chuo-ku, Tokyo 104-0044, Japan. Email:


Aim:  The purposes of this study were to identify specific components and frequencies of ethical issues that home-visiting nurses encountered in their practice, relationships between ethical issues and demographic data, and experience of ethics education and workplace environment.

Methods:  A self-administered questionnaire was distributed to home-visiting nurses in Japan. Usable data (1961) were analyzed.

Results:  Item and exploratory factor analysis for the frequency of encountering ethical issues revealed: (i) concern about respecting client or relationships with relevant professionals; (ii) differences in treatment or care-taking views among home-visiting nurse and client and family, or relevant professionals; and (iii) discrepancy of intention between family and client or home-visiting nurse. All factors were significantly positively related to the current position, duration of working experience as a home-visiting nurse, and type of nursing education; age was significantly negatively related. Home-visiting nurses noted that programmed continuing education systems and staff-training programs were not sufficiently available.

Conclusion:  The findings of this study indicated the characteristics of ethical issues that home-visiting nurses encountered in their practice and insufficient continuing education system including ethics education. Ethics education programs tailored to home-visiting nurses ethical concerns and traits and continuing education systems are needed.