Date published: January 1, 2012
Based on its core values of caring, integrity, diversity, and excellence, the NLN has developed ethical principles for nursing education programs, titled "The National League for Nursing Ethical Principles for Nursing Education." These principles foster environments that promote academic and professional integrity, ultimately enhancing patient care and positive outcomes. The full text of the document is available online at www.nln.org.
Background The NLN's Nursing Education Workforce Development Advisory Council (NEWDAC) developed the document in response to concerns expressed by NLN members about ethical issues encountered in nursing education programs. These issues include academic dishonesty, incivility, abusive and bullying behavior, breaches in confidentiality, and defamatory statements.
The NLN fully recognizes the value of codes of ethics developed by the American Nurses Association and the International Council of Nurses; the use of these codes by practicing nurses to guide clinical practice is a long-held standard in the nursing profession. The League also appreciates previous efforts to consider an ethical code for nurse educators (Rosenkoetter, 1983; Rosenkoetter & Milstead, 2010). The current effort by the NLN seeks to broaden ethical guidelines for nurse educators and address the development of a culture and environment based on cooperation, support, and mutual enrichment that fulfills the educational goals of a program of learning.
NLN Core Values CARING Caring actions result in positive outcomes for colleagues, students, and members of the community at large. Caring for self transforms into caring effectively for others; approaches to caring are evidenced by open, two-way communication; active attempts to understand others' needs; and development of an environment that offers assistance to those who cannot care for their physical and psychosocial needs. A learning environment should encourage freedom to explore and question. Nurse educators need to foster academic environments that support academic freedom, respect various points of view, and promote curiosity. To care for others, one needs to care for one's self. In order for students to learn caring behaviors, it is crucial for nurse educators to model those behaviors to colleagues and students by:
* Recognizing the importance of caring for self as foundational to caring for others;
* Creating an environment that embraces acceptance and encourages freedom to voice constructive criticisms and concerns;
* Engaging in relationship-centered interactions.
INTEGRITY Integrity involves treating others with respect - communicating with one another in a positive, courteous manner, honoring confidences, and maintaining a professional demeanor both in and out of the workplace. Communication transcends verbal communication and includes email, social networking, and texting. Integrity calls for taking responsibility for one's actions and advocating for professional values and beliefs. Decisions should reflect transparency, doing the right thing for others, and seeking fairness and equality by:
* Modeling professional behaviors that demonstrate honesty, respect for self and others, accountability, and self-growth;
* Maintaining confidences of colleagues, students, and those for whom we care;
* Demonstrating courage to challenge the status quo and to advocate for professional values and beliefs;
* Formulating decisions that reflect ethical principles.
DIVERSITY Diversity supports environments that celebrate the uniqueness of individuals, fostering open, respectful, and candid communication. It encourages innovative teaching strategies to address a variety of learning styles, taking into consideration the impact of cultural and experiential influences. Fair treatment of all is supported through nondiscriminatory practices in relation to race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, age, physical abilities, religious beliefs, political beliefs, and other ideologies. Diversity can be achieved by:
* Creating environments that provide open and respectful exchange and promote fair practices among all persons;
* Fostering autonomy and freedom of conscience;
* Developing and implementing teaching strategies that respond effectively to individual learning styles;
* Affirming the value and significance of contributions made by persons of diverse backgrounds, experiences, and beliefs.
EXCELLENCE Excellence requires engagement in scholarship and activities that promote professional growth, improvement, and understanding. A healthy nursing academic work environment includes the development and sustainability of a collegial environment, institutional support for the nursing unit, and strong leadership that guides efforts to create and implement transformative strategies with daring ingenuity. Generate excellence by:
* Creating an environment that embraces collegiality, competence, and support for ongoing professional growth;
* Fostering a spirit of inquiry that can produce a culture of innovation and creativity;
* Constructing a climate conducive to transformational learning through an improved education system.
American Nurses Association (2001). Code of ethics for nurses with interpretive statements. Silver Spring, MD: Author.
International Council of Nurses. (2006). The ICN code of ethics for nurses [brochure]. Geneva: Author.
Rosenkoetter, M. (1983). A code of ethics for nursing educators. Nursing Outlook, 31, 288.
Rosenkoetter, M., & Milstead, J. (2010). A code of ethics for nurse educators: Revised. Nursing Ethics, 17, 137-139.