Ethical Practices in the Field of Nursing

EthicalPractices in the Field of Nursing

EthicalPractices in the Field of Nursing

Thenursing code of ethics is developed by nurses to guide them in themin practicing ethically, especially during ethical challenges thatoccur in their daily practice with families, individuals, publichealth system, or communities. Nursing ethics help nurses inestablishing ethical responsibilities, ethical relationships, andethical behavior and enhances decision making ability (CanadianNurses Association, 2014). In essence, nursing ethics provide thebasis on which nurses can deliver compassionate, competent, safe, andethical care. However, nursing ethics work well when individualnurses perceive that ethics is all about self reflection and selfevaluation in daily practices. The desire to practice ethics in thefield of nursing starts during the school life when the nursestudents are required to practice honest and observe academic ethics.There are two controversial academic practices that put the nursingpractice at risk, namely the use of test bank to study for exams andacademic plagiarism. This paper will assess the two practices andidentify ways in which their application can put patients at risk.

Ethicalpractices in profession of nursing

Theprofession of nursing is shaped by the values and precepts thatdefine the relationship between nurses and their clients or withother stakeholders. The first set of values and precepts werecommunicated by Florence Nightingale in the nineteenth century(Butts, 2010). The main objective of establishing a set of ethicalpractices was to shift the focus from technical to science and theart of nursing, which could only be accomplished by nurse trainers oreducators. This implies that ethical practices in the field ofnursing begin from school because graduates practice what they havelearned. Although there are many nursing values that have beensuggested, seven of them are basic and should be practiced by nurseson a daily basis. These values and precepts include provision ofcompetent, compassionate, and ethical care promotion of wellbeingand health of all clients respecting and promoting informed decisionmaking preserving the dignity of all people maintainingconfidentiality and privacy of all persons promoting justice andbeing accountable in all activities (Canadian Nurses Association,2014). This set of ethical standards should be practiced in allhealth care facilities, but different facilities may have additionalvalues and ethics set to enhance efficiency in service delivery andimprove treatment outcome.

Testbanks and ethical concerns

Testbanks contain a large number of questions and answers that are mostlydesigned by textbook publishers or authors, but they are only meantfor use by instructors. This implies the test bank is part ofinstructional material that should be accessed by instructors whoshould then use them to help their students achieve the courseobjectives (Masnick, 2010). Unfortunately, any person (including thestudents) can now have access to instructional materials through thetest bank. In the current electronic age faculties and students canutilize the digital media to create and share instructional materialsthrough online communication, email, or real time communication. Forexample, some authors and vendors sell solutions to the end of topicquestions for financial gain without regarding the impact they causeto the education system. This has increased the accessibility ofinstructional materials, even to the unintended parties, includingcommercial vendors and students who access the samples of testquestions prior to exam dates. Since most of the materials containedin the test bank are exclusively meant for instructors, educatorshave the right to select some of the questions and set them asmidterm of final exams. Accessibility of test banks by some studentplaces those who cannot access the content at a disadvantage, whichcreates unfairness in the education system. This amounts to examcheating, which is an unethical practice in the education sector.

Basedon the utilitarian theory, authors and vendors who increaseaccessibility of instructional resources to students fails toconsider the end results of their actions. The accessibility of examquestions and answers to students via test bank shifts the studentsfocus from the course content to examination performance (Lesle,2010). This means that students who have access to test bankquestions and answers fall to pay attention details of the course asa long as they will pass in exams. This reduces their ability toabsorb the course content, which in turn affects their performance inthe field. These subject patients to the risk of receivingsubstandard health care services, when served by a graduate whorelied on the test bank since they have little knowledge of thenursing practice to apply in the field. Moreover, this increase thechances for nursing graduates to breach the nursing code of ethics byfailing to observe the basic ethical precept, such as client’ssafety and confidentiality.


Plagiarismis a major concern to educators as well as administrators who wish tosee their students apply efforts in representing their learningoutcomes. Plagiarism refers to the deliberate use of the language,other original material (not common knowledge), or ideas of otherpeople without acknowledging them properly (Lowe, 2010). This impliesthat even inadequate citation of ideas of other authors is consideredas plagiarism, which is an unethical practice in academics. Studentsengage in plagiarism for many reasons, but four of them are common.First, some students fear taking a risk in their original work, whichresults from lack of self confidence (Lowe, 2010). Secondly, poortime management leaves students with little or no time to conductappropriate research and cite other authors appropriately. Third,some educators present their students with generic assignments to anextent that learners believe that they have valid reasons to searchfor canned responses. Fourth, some students view the assignment,course, or other academic documentation as important and end-upcheating. Fifth, some educators fail to punish students who cheat andthis encourages plagiarism among the learners (Lowe, 2010). Thisimplies that both the students and educators contribute to theincrease in plagiarism in the education system.

Thereare four common types of plagiarism, including direct, self, mosaic,and accidental plagiarism (Maine, 2014). Direct plagiarism is thetranscription of someone’s work word-for-word without acknowledgingthem through appropriate citation. For example, a student may write“Long ago when there was no written history …” which is asentence retrieved from the text passage written as “In ages whichhave no record …” (Maine, 2014). Self plagiarism takes place whena student copies part of the previous assignment or submits the wholeof the previous assignment without permission from the teacher. Forexample, an assignment done in high school submitted by the samestudent for grading in college is self plagiarism. A student whoborrows phrases from works of other people without acknowledging themproperly commits mosaic or patch plagiarism. A student who fails tocite sources, use the wrong quotes, or paraphrase sourcesunintentional commit accidental plagiarism. Plagiarism reduces thecapacity of students to trust their brains, and this affects theirprofessional life where they are expected to practice what is ontheir mind without copying or referring to the text. In the case ofnursing student, failure to entrench on originality during the schoollife may affect their ability to engage in evidence-based practiceduring their career life. Their patients receive poor quality healthcare services, which might as well affect the treatment outcome.

Thereare two major lessons learned from this research. First, with thecurrent rate of technological advancement, educators have little todo with accessibility of instructor material through the test bank.This means that educators should now focus on produce original testsrather than relying on author test questions and solutions. This willforce the nursing students to work hard in school in preparation forthe nursing practice. Secondly, both teachers and learners contributetowards plagiarism and both of them have roles to play in reducingits prevalence in the education system. Reducing the significance oftest banks and plagiarism is the most appropriate way of ensuringthat nursing students are well prepared and kept ready to observe thenursing code of ethics in the field.


Failureto apply ethical precepts and values in the nursing practice is oneof the factors that subject patients to risk. Ethics help nurses inshowing compassion and providing safe health care services. Testbanks are designed to help educators in delivering the coursecontent, but many vendors and authors have continually increasedaccessibility of instructional material to students. This hasincreased incidents of exam cheating, which reduces the quality ofeducation. Plagiarism is another form of cheating that is common inthe contemporary academic environment. Both the use of test banks andplagiarism are unethical practices, especially in the field ofnursing because unethical graduates subject their clients to risk byproviding unsafe and poor quality health care services.


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Lowe,C. (2010). Defining and avoiding plagiarism: The WPA statement onbest practices. Councilof Writing Program Administrators.Retrieved June 22, 2014, from

Maine,B. (2014). The common types of plagiarism. BowdoinCollege.Retrieved June 22, 2014, from

Masnick,M. (2010). 200students admit to cheating on exam.Redwood City, CA: Floor, Incorporation.