Professional ethics in nursing: An integrative review

Professional ethics in nursing: An integrative review

Aim

To conduct an integrative review and synthesize current primary studies of professional ethics in nursing.

Background

Professional ethics is a familiar concept in nursing and provides an ethical code for nursing practice. However, little is known about how professional ethics has been defined and studied in nursing science.

Design and data sources

Systematic literature searches from 1948-February 2013, using the CINAHL, PubMed and Scopus electronic databases to look at previously published peer-reviewed studies

Review method

A modified version of Cooper's five-stage integrative review was used to review and synthesize current knowledge

Results

Fourteen papers were included in this research. According to our synthesis, professional ethics is described as an intra-professional approach to care ethics and professionals commit to it voluntarily. Professional ethics consist of values, duties, rights and responsibilities, regulated by national legislation and international agreements and detailed in professional codes. Professional ethics is well established in nursing, but is constantly changing due to internal and external factors affecting the profession.

Conclusion

Despite the obvious importance of professional ethics, it has not been studied much in nursing science. Greater knowledge of professional ethics is needed to understand and support nurses' moral decision-making and to respond to the challenges of current changes in health care and society.

Keywords

 ethics; integrative review; nurse roles; nursing; profession.

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