Loyola University Chicago

Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing

Mary Broderick Donnelly, JD, RN

The Effect of Participating in an Ethics Consultation Simulation on Undergraduate Nursing Students’ Knowledge and Application of Nursing Ethics Principles

Investigator: Mary Broderick Donnelly, JD, RN

Ethics principles are considered to be a critical component of healthcare education, a fact that is recognized by nursing education accrediting bodies such as AACN, professional organizations such as the ANA, and in the literature. However, accepted and consistent teaching methods relevant to identifying and understanding ethical principles and interventions are not readily available to the nursing profession. The purpose of this study is to determine if the introduction of an intervention, in the form of an ethics consultation simulation, will increase nursing students’ knowledge of and ability to apply certain ethical principles. Although simulation has been recognized as an effective method by which to teach nursing students certain clinical skills, its use in the area of teaching ethics, as evidenced by a paucity of articles in the literature, is limited. The study will utilize a pretest/posttest model to determine if the knowledge of and ability to apply ethical principles increases after the intervention. Simply being taught the principles by reading them and discussing them in a classroom setting may not afford students the opportunity to integrate the written knowledge with clinical situations that may arise. Simulation is recognized as a method by which students may learn to practice and apply different skills, and participating in an ethics consult simulation will allow the students the benefit of identifying an ethical situation to which certain nursing principles are directly related, understanding the nuance of nurse-patient interaction as it is relevant to gathering information in that specific situation, and applying the relevant ethical principles.  Learning the principles in this enhanced fashion will impact health care and nursing and improve clinical care because improved understanding of the application of the principles will provide an important guide for clinical practice.