The development and implications of a case-based computer program to train ethical decision-making

Nursing Ethics 20 (8):943-956 (2013)
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To effectively train ethical decision-making of nursing students, a case-based computer program was developed using Flash animation. Seven ethical cases collected from practicing registered nurses’ actual clinical experiences and a six-step Integrated Ethical Decision-Making Model developed by the author were employed in the program. In total, 251 undergraduate students from three nursing schools used the program in their nursing ethics course. The usability of the program and its usefulness in improving 11 abilities needed in ethical decision-making were measured; it scored higher than 4 on a 5-point scale. Of the students, 82% recommended the program as a valuable complementary tool in the teaching of a nursing ethics course. A variety of encouraging and positive experiences were reported by the students. The computer program is likely to be usefully practical in the training of abstract skills to nursing students, though certain challenges remain, such as the precise understanding of cognitive or affective responses to ethical issues.



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