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Ethical Issues in Nursing Education and Practice Coursework

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Updated: May 15th, 2021

Controversial and ethically challenging issues in nursing

In a controversial, ethically challenging situation you encountered, what were your feelings and how did you react? How would you approach this topic in a teaching environment?

In my practice, a man who suddenly became disabled did not want to receive help from others since he wanted to stay independent. Frankly speaking, I had mixed feelings; understanding that it was my duty to improve his quality of life, I did not want to increase his depression risks by urging him to receive any help. To approach the topic in a teaching environment, I would still adhere to the principles of patient-centered care to work with emotional issues (Gregory, 2014). Actually, to react properly and help him to resolve the conflict, I needed to provide a lot of examples to show that being helped by others did not mean “loosing” one’s personality or becoming totally dependent.

What could be the related advantages and disadvantages of the position taken in case of ethical controversies?

Among the positions that are commonly used in case of ethical controversies is the decision to stay neutral, which has its own advantages and disadvantages. As for its strong points, staying neutral and, therefore, unbiased allows evaluating information more objectively and being impartial (Cain, 1999; Hinde, 2004). However, as it follows from my experience with a disabled person, the disadvantages of neutrality include the inability to take this position in case of emotional strain. Controversial positions are often mutually exclusive, and staying neutral can be an attempt to square a circle.

What are your thoughts regarding the experiences of individuals with MAiD that have occurred in Vancouver?

The case of Ellen Wiebe, the provider who used MAiD at the nursing home despite the rules of her professional organization, shows that medical decisions are often impacted by religious views and formal rules (Gindin, 2018; Lazaruk, 2018). It is difficult to evaluate the situation, but to me, the provider did nothing wrong if we prioritize the interests of her patient and his family. As for another controversial case, Mr. and Mrs. Brickenden were elderly spouses who wanted to die together with the help of MAiD (Grant, 2018). Personally, I understand their fear to pass away before their spouses. However, in this situation, they should also think about children who will lose both parents simultaneously.

Managing ethical dilemmas in nursing education

How can nurse educators prevent cheating on exams and assignments?

As for me, the cheating culture exists in any country because many nursing students just want to devote more time to hobbies or work. To overcome the issue, it is necessary to focus on a lack of motivation (Park, Park, & Jang, 2013). Moreover, to prevent cheating, it is important to make assignments more individualized. Apart from that, an instructor can identify cheating by asking in-depth questions concerning the content of certain assignments.

What are some of the implications of cheating in nursing schools on the nursing profession?

In terms of the impact that cheating in nursing schools has on the profession, it is clear that the failure to prevent it would bring many graduates into discredit. In a long-term perspective, cheating may significantly reduce the quality of professional knowledge, increasing the number of medical errors with adverse outcomes (Paterson, Taylor, & Usick, 2003). In addition, it will spoil the reputation of some professional schools, reducing the number of young people who want to become nurses.

How might the use of technology present ethical issues in nursing education?

In general, the development of technology allows avoiding many ethical issues such as plagiarism and helps to motivate learners (Evans, 2006; Menon et al., 2004). However, in many cases, the Internet and social media give rise to the popularization of essay mills and similar services. Also, technology may facilitate cheating since there are programs helping to avoid the detection of plagiarism.

Should nurse educators access patient’s notes for educational purposes?

Enabling nurse educators to access patient’s notes to provide students with improvement recommendations is reasonable and effective. The use of nurse educators’ professional experience would be helpful, but all patients should be asked for permission to avoid violating their rights. Even though the decision may sound viable if professional educational needs are taken into account, the use of patient data without their permission is absolutely inappropriate.


Cain, P. (1999). Controversial issues: A case for neutrality? Nurse Education Today, 19(2), 159-163.

Evans, R. (2006). Evaluating an electronic plagiarism detection service: The importance of trust and the difficulty of proving students don’t cheat. Active Learning in Higher Education: The Journal of the Institute for Learning and Teaching, 7(1), 87-99.

Gindin, M. (2018). . The Canadian Jewish News. Web.

Grant, K. (2018). . The Globe and Mail. Web.

Gregory, M. R. (2014). The procedurally directive approach to teaching controversial issues. Educational Theory, 64(6), 627-648.

Hinde, E. (2004). Bones of contention: Teaching controversial issues. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 17(2), 31-32.

Lazaruk, S. (2018). . Vancouver Sun. Web.

Menon, A. S., Moffett, S., Enriquez, M., Martinez, M. M., Dev, P., & Grappone, T. (2004). Audience response made easy: Using personal digital assistants as a classroom polling tool. Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association, 11(3), 217-220.

Park, E. J., Park, S., & Jang, I. S. (2013). Academic cheating among nursing students. Nurse Education Today, 33(4), 346-352.

Paterson, B., Taylor, L., & Usick, B. (2003). The construction of plagiarism in a school of nursing. Learning in Health and Social Care, 2(3), 147-158.

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