DCU Home | Our Courses | Loop | Registry | Library | Search DCU

Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Ethics in Nursing
Module Code NS308A
School 38
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Kate Irving
Semester 2: Kate Irving
Autumn: Kate Irving
Module TeachersKate Irving
Paula Flanagan
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Students will complete the same essay with a new scenario.

This module introduces students to analysis and reasoning in the philosophy and ethics tradition. The nature of nursing will be examined; as will key concepts which are said to underpin clinical nursing practice, and which also permeate the professional and academic literature.Various ethical theories and principles are discussed and applied to cases and issues relevant to nursing and health care. The notion of ethical problems, judgements and decisions will be analysed and explored from the perspective of three theories of ethics: deontology, utilitarianism and virtue theory. A broad framework for ethical decision making will be critically evaluated.

Learning Outcomes

1. Consider the nature of nursing and the ethical domain of clinical practice.
2. Apply key skills of philosophical analysis and ethical reasoning.
3. Identify ethical issues in nursing practice and health care.
4. Apply ethical theories and principles to specific cases from practice.
5. Weigh the relative strengths of different positions on ethical issues.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Lecture24Ethical theories and principles applied to nursing cases and issues
Tutorial4Scheduled time for group work
Seminars4Discussion of ethical issues raised in films
Independent Study93Reading, study and preparation of group project and individual essay
Total Workload: 125

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Philosophy and Ethics
Overview of what philosophy / ethics is and what it seek to do

Critical thinking
Developing and evaluating arguments

The nature of nursing
An examination of nursing as a discipline and practice in the 21st century health service

Ethical principles
Overview of the main principles and their application to nursing

The concept of care
An analysis of the concept of care in nursing and health care practice

Developing and ethical perspective
An examination of the moral domain of nursing practice and the ethical dimension of the nurse/patient relationship

Description and evaluation of different ethical perspectives

Ethical theories
Overview of the main theories and their applicaion to nursing

Description and evaluation of different ethical perspectives

Informed consent
Description and evaluation of different ethical perspectives

Emotions ad ethics
An overview of the relevance of emotions in ethical decision making

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
EssayStudents will choose a moral dilemma from their own clinical practice and complete a moral case deliberation on this issue.100%n/a
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Dolores Dooley and Joan McCarthy: 2012, Nursing ethics: Irish cases and concerns, 2nd ed, Gill & Macmillan, Dublin, 9780717149865
  • Margaret A. Burkhardt, Alvita K. Nathaniel: 2008, Ethics & issues in contemporary nursing, Thomson Delmar Learning, Clifton Park, NY, 1418042749
  • Hugh Mercer Curtler: 2004, Ethical argument, Oxford University Press, New York, 0195173163
  • Elsie L. Bandman, Bertram Bandman: 2002, Nursing ethics through the life span, 4th ed, Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle River, N.J., 0838569765
  • Tom L. Beauchamp, James F. Childress,: 2013, Principles of Biomedical Ethics, 7th ed, 978-0-19-992458-5
  • Mary Donnelly: 2002, Consent: Bridging the Gap Between Doctor and Patient, Cork University Press, Cork, 1859182755
  • R. G. Frey (Editor), Christopher Heath Wellman (Editor): 2005, A Companion To Applied Ethics, Blackwell, Oxford, 1405133457
  • A. P. Martinich: 2005, Philosophical Writing, 3rd ed, Malden, Mass, Blackwell, 1405131675
  • Peter Singer, Helga Kuhse (Editor): 2006, Bioethics: An Anthology, 2nd ed, Blackwell, Oxford, 9781405129480
  • Lewis Vaughn: 2006, Writing philosophy, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 0195179560
Other Resources

60036, DVD, 2001, Wit, United States, HBO, 60037, DVD, 2004, The doctor, London, Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 60038, DVD, 2002, One flew over the cuckoo's nest, London, Warner Home Video,
Programme or List of Programmes
BNCGBSc in Children's & General Nursing

My DCU | Loop | Disclaimer | Privacy Statement