The impact of the Faith and Ethics course on the “repertoire of ethical knowledge”
Understanding of ethic is essential in all occupations. In nursing, one has to make many ethical decisions in day to day activities. No wonder occupations such as nursing have ethical codes to provide framework to ethical conduct. Before enrolling for the course, I wondered why there is high emphasis on ethics in nursing. I did not take deep consideration on ethical dilemmas that can result from some nursing situations. The course however, has increased my ethical knowledge and helped me to make ethical considerations in my decisions.
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Attaining ethical maturity is a process. Ethical maturity entails not only being able to differentiate right from wrong but also having courage to take the right action. In Christian context, the Bible is the principle guide to ethical conduct and all actions should be in conformity to it (Hoose, 2000). However, one cannot claim to have achieved ethical maturity by only understanding the bible. It is appropriate to explore other schools of thought to ethics and understand how others make ethical decisions. The course has therefore helped me explore various moral theories and expand my ethical knowledge.
Ethical consideration is central to human being. People differ on how they make ethical decisions but there is no question to that they make ethical considerations in making decisions. Utilitarianism, Kantianism, nihilism, ethical relativism and other moral theories give insight into ethical conduct. Neither Kant, Mill, Aristotle or other moral theorist invent moral values. Moral values seem to be intrinsic in human being and an individual is compelled to abide by the values. However, not everyone has moral courage to act ethically.
As aforementioned, becoming ethically mature is a challenge. Ethical maturity is more than ability to abide by ethical codes in a particular profession but ability to respond ethically to any eventualities. In making ethical decisions, it is rare to be strictly Kantian, utilitarian or religious absolutism. One borrows from the moral theories to develop a unique way of responding to situations. The most important thing that I have gained from the course is ability to think critically over my decisions. I have learned to base my decisions on Christian values.
Areas of ethical development: character formation, informed conduct, and moral vision
Character formation, informed conduct and moral visions are all important in developing ethical practice. However, I find character formation as the foundation to ethical practice and therefore needs further development. It doesn’t help knowing ethics if one cannot act ethically. Ethical knowledge calls for being courageous enough to take the right actions without regard to criticism or external pressure (Hoose, 2000). However, acting ethically is challenging and calls for a well developed character. Character refers to a disposition that determines how an individual responds to a situation. An individual with a well developed character in ethical practice would respond ethically to any situation.
Practice is the best approach to develop ethical character. Christian character traits such as wisdom, honesty, grace, faithfulness, diligence, humility, responsibility, respect for others, justice, and forgiveness are important in developing ethical practice. I intend to strengthen my ethical character by building a habit of thinking and acting ethically. I will uphold the Christian character traits in all situations and therefore develop them. I will consciously evaluate every decision against Christian values. When met with ethical dilemma, I will ask myself how Christ would respond to a similar situation, and act accordingly.
Hoose, B. (2000). Christian Ethics: An Introduction. London: Continuum International Publishing Group.