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Knowledge of professional rules of ethics among professional nurses

Knowledge of professional rules of ethics among professional nurses

Pflege 13(1): 42-46

During recent years numerous publications on ethical issues appeared in German nursing literature. Nursing theorists repeatedly refer to the Code of Ethics of the International Council of Nursing (ICN). The implementation of codes of ethics is discussed as an indispensable stage within the development of independent nursing ethics. However, it is not clear whether nurses in Germany know about the ICN Code of Ethics or other codes of ethics. The authors' objective is to learn more about how much is known about codes of ethics by practical nurses in four selected hospitals. In addition, it is of interest to know, which advantages nurses might associate with codes of ethics and secondly from which sources nurses prefer to receive ethical education. The study shows that only 25% of the participants know about codes of ethics. It also reveals that further education offered by hospitals or the basic nursing education are seen as the most important source of information related to ethics. The major advantage of codes of ethics seen by the participants is to provide guidance in the decision-making process of ethical dilemma situations in nursing. Secondly the Code of Ethics is regarded as a useful framework to define obligations and rights of nurses in the relationship with patients and relatives. The results of the study indicate that the ICN Code of Ethics is practically unknown among nurses and should be discussed more extensively by practical nurses and nursing theorists.

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Accession: 046508487

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PMID: 10797767

DOI: 10.1024/1012-5302.13.1.42

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