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HNN714 - Ethical Dimensions of Nursing

Unit details

Year2017 unit information
Enrolment modes:Trimester 1: Cloud (online)
Credit point(s):1
EFTSL value:0.125
Unit chair:

Alison Hutchinson





Incompatible with: HNN414
Contact hours:

Online independent and collaborative learning activities including 3 x 1 hour online seminars (recordings provided)


This unit has as its focus a critical examination of the ethical dimensions of nursing. Using ethical principlism, moral rights, virtue ethics, and cross-cultural ethics as decision-making frames, the unit aims to provide students with an opportunity to explore and reflect critically on a range of key ethical issues arising in contemporary nursing practice and related health care domains. To this end, particular attention is given to the issues of: the nature of nursing ethics and the professional requirement to be ethical; the relationship between the legal, clinical and ethical dimensions of nursing; cross-cultural ethics; ethical decision making; vulnerability and dehumanisation; patients' rights to and in health care; mental health care ethics; matters of life and death (e.g. end-of-life decision-making; quality of life; politics of abortion and euthanasia/assisted suicide); professional judgment, moral quandaries and the demand to ‘take appropriate action’ to prevent harm (e.g., conscientious objection, whistle-blowing, preventive ethics); professional obligations to report harmful behaviours (e.g., impaired practitioners and risks to patient safety, child abuse, elder abuse); and nursing ethics futures (e.g., moral issues posed by: climate change, peak petroleum, public health emergencies, pandemic influenza, antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and the problem of inequities in health and health care).


Assessment task 1: Assignment (2000 words) 40%

Assessment task 2: Assignment (3000 words) 60%

Prescribed texts

Johnstone M-J. 2016. Bioethics: A nursing perspective (6th ed.), Sydney, Churchill Livingston/Elsevier (Forthcoming). At the time of writing, the cost for the prescribed text is anticipated to be around $85.

Unit Fee Information

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