Educational challenges in teaching nursing ethics: Perspectives of educators in Japan

Mari Tsuruwaka


Background: While nursing ethics is becoming accepted as an independent subject in Japanese universities, there are many issues concerning the education. The purpose of this study was to anew investigate nursing ethics programs in university, to reveal the difficulties that nursing ethics educators in Japanese nursing bachelor’s degree programs faced and educational challenges, and to examine the best form of nursing ethics education.

Methods: A self-administered questionnaire survey to nursing ethics educators in 235 nursing bachelor’s degree programs in Japan was conducted. The questionnaire mainly asked about an overview of nursing ethics programs, the difficulties educators experienced and educational challenges, and the association of ethics education with nursing practice.

Results: The return rate of the questionnaire was 29.7%. Methods of group discussion based on case studies were common, and patients’ rights and analytical approaches to ethical issues were common topics. Many of the subjects faced difficulties in nursing ethics education: curriculum, students’ circumstances, students’ readiness and abilities, the characteristics of ethical problems, and educators’ abilities. The educators suggested that students should continue to learn nursing ethics over a few school years according to a curriculum built in a step-by-step, systematic manner.

Conclusions: This survey indicated that discussions regarding what educational goals in what school year should be offered to students were needed at each university. Cooperation between educators and practical training instructors on the contents of education, and a clear definition of expertise necessary for teaching nursing ethics were challenges to be accomplished as well.

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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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