Skip to content | Change text size

NUR2202 - Ethical issues in nursing

3 points, SCA Band 0, 0.063 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences

Leader: Ms Sonia Allen (Gippsland & Mildura) & Dr Joy Lynham (Peninsula)


Gippsland Second semester 2007 (Day)
Mildura Second semester 2007 (Day)
Peninsula Second semester 2007 (Day)


Ethical Issues introduces students to the ethical responsibilities of the nurse in caring for patients within a variety of clinical contexts. Students will be encouraged to identify nursing situations where moral obligation and moral responsibility, moral distress, ethical dilemmas and conscientious objection are likely to arise. Patient's rights, ethical theories and principles, and ethical reasoning will be considered and applied to a variety of ethical issues and dilemmas in clinical practice.


On completion of this unit students are expected to be able to:

  1. discuss the obligations of nurses to adhere to an ethical code of practice;
  2. identify ethical dilemmas frequently encountered in clinical nursing practice;
  3. differentiate between a consequentialist and non-consequentialist approach to ethical reasoning;
  4. apply ethical principles and ethical reasoning when examining ethical issues and dilemmas; and
  5. utilise an ethical reasoning approach to assist in resolving ethical dilemmas that are frequently encountered by health professionals within a variety of clinical situations, including dilemmas associated with:
    • confidentiality;
    • choice and potential harm;
    • arguments regarding the justification of weak and strong paternalism;
    • not for resuscitation orders;
    • euthanasia;
    • use of complementary therapies in health care;
    • research and the role of ethics committees;
    • resource allocation;
    • multidisciplinary ethical decision making; and
    • future trends in ethics.


Assignment: 60%
Examination: 40%

Contact hours

3 hours per week


NUR1101, NUR1102.


Available only to students enrolled in Bachelor of Nursing (Post Registration), Bachelor of Nursing or Bachelor of Nursing and Rural Health Practice