Does ethics education influence the moral action of practicing nurses and social workers?

American Journal of Bioethics 8 (4):4 – 11 (2008)
Abstract
Purpose/methods: This study investigated the relationship between ethics education and training, and the use and usefulness of ethics resources, confidence in moral decisions, and moral action/activism through a survey of practicing nurses and social workers from four United States (US) census regions. Findings: The sample (n = 1215) was primarily Caucasian (83%), female (85%), well educated (57% with a master's degree). no ethics education at all was reported by 14% of study participants (8% of social workers had no ethics education, versus 23% of nurses), and only 57% of participants had ethics education in their professional educational program. Those with both professional ethics education and in-service or continuing education were more confident in their moral judgments and more likely to use ethics resources and to take moral action. Social workers had more overall education, more ethics education, and higher confidence and moral action scores, and were more likely to use ethics resources than nurses. Conclusion: Ethics education has a significant positive influence on moral confidence, moral action, and use of ethics resources by nurses and social workers.
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