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by Carol Petrozella
Health Services

The nature of the problem for this study is the need to provide nursing students with an educational foundation for making ethical decisions which affect their nursing practice. There is not enough contact time within the Miami-Dade Community College (M-DCC) core program courses to provide this foundation. There is an option available, the use of a nursing elective in the curriculum. The purpose of this study was to develop a three credit nursing ethics elective to complement the M-DCC core curriculum. This study answered four research questions: (a) What contemporary issues and ethical principles are influencing ethical decision making? (b) What are some of the current ethical models used as frameworks for ethical decisions? (c) What topics and issues should be included in a nursing ethics elective designed for an Associate Degree in Nursing curriculum? and (d) What are effective instructional strategies for teaching health care ethics?

This study followed a developmental problem-solving methodology. A questionnaire was developed based on a review of the literature which identified current ethical issues facing nursing today. In addition, the literature review was used to identify appropriate instructional strategies and ethical decision making models. A modified model for instructional design was adopted from Kemp, J. E., Morrison, G. R., & Ross, S. M. (1994), Designing effective instruction. A formative committee of experts was used to validate the questionnaire. A pilot study was conducted to ensure the appropriateness of the instrument and to discover any problems with the instruments design or questions. A summative committee was used to evaluate the questionnaire after the pilot study. The mailed survey was sent to 540 potential participants. A follow-up mailing was included in the procedures. A net return response rate was 62.4% (n = 337). The questionnaire was sent to four cohorts: Florida Nurses Association (FNA) Councils on Bioethics and! Nurse Educators, and the Society for Health and Human Values, nurses and humanities section (U. S. residents only). The fourth cohort was composed of a combined group of FNA Council members from the Bioethics and Nurse Educators. The total population for these groups were included in the mailed survey. The results of this survey was used to develop the course content, syllabi, and case study videotapes. (Abstract shortened by UMI.)

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