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There are important consequences associated with failing to comply with the ethical standards set forth in a master’s nursing program. Academic dishonesty undermines the welfare of all stakeholders in a graduate nursing program. Researchers have demonstrated that students who commit dishonest acts in an educational setting are more likely to also do so in a clinical setting (Taghadosi et al., 2020). The absence of professional integrity undermines the health of patients and reduces public trust in the surrounding health care system. Failure to comply with ethical statement also reduces the quality of the master’s nursing program and undermines the welfare of classmates and professors. Developing a culture of professional integrity among students increases the extent to which nursing schools are producing the next generation of nurse leaders.
It is important to keep in mind that there are many different types of unethical behaviors in a nursing master’s program. Examples of academic dishonesty can include inadvertent missteps such as accidental plagiarism. Even minor transgressions may lead to on ethical actions that can eventually become pervasive within a graduate level program (Taghadosi et al., 2020). These are all reasons that it is very important to be familiar with the standards of a Code of Ethics and to understand the moral benchmarks that stakeholders are required to adhere to.
Unethical behaviors in nursing practice are especially harmful for traditionally underserved and vulnerable populations. They can lead to a variety of adverse outcomes such as errors in documentation and failure to report unethical behaviors among peers and colleagues. In many cases, unethical behaviors may be accidental or a product of a basic oversight. One example is improper delegation of tasks. Delegation is often a fundamental aspect of effective care delivery in a high-volume environment in which practitioners must work together to meet high demand for services. However, delegation to another person who is not a registered nurse and who is not qualified to undertake a task is illegal and unethical (Mueller & Vogelsmeier, 2014). Nurses have a professional responsibility to perform independent tasks in the context of nursing care, and they must do so independently and professionally (Mueller & Vogelsmeier, 2014). Nursing care responsibilities are the sole responsibility of nurses who have received independent professional training for the specific role and purpose for which they are required to fulfill. There is clear legal liability when nursing tasks are delegated to someone who has not been professionally trained to complete them. Just as importantly, this can entail unethical actions that may undermine the quality of care throughout a clinical organization.
Mueller, C., Vogelsmeier, A. (2014, May). Effective delegation: understanding responsibility, authority, and accountability. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 4(3), 20-27.
Taghadosi, M., Vailee, S., Aghajani, M. (2020). Noncompliance with ethics in academic environments: A qualitative study. BMC Nursing, DOI: 10.1186/s12912-021-00537-y