Ethical Issues in Department of Army Nursing Practice


Name: Janet Harris

Rank: COL, USA

Organization: Henry Jackson Foundation

Performance Site: 44th Medical Brigade, 55th Medical Group, 28th CSH, 274th FST, Fort Bragg, NC; Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, NC; Dewitt Army Community Hospital, Fort Belvoir, VA; Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Washington, DC

Year Published: 2000

Abstract Status: Initial


Nurses have a responsibility to both our profession and society to uphold the ethics of safe and beneficial practice. Every nurse has an obligation to understand the moral and legal rights of all clients and to protect and support those rights (ANA, 1995). The purposes of this study are 1) identify the ethical issues experienced by Army Nurse Corps (ANC) officers and Department of the Army civilian (DAC) registered nurses (RNs) in their practices and the frequency of their occurrence; 2) identify how disturbed ANC and DAC RNs are by these ethical issues; and 3) determine the ethics education needs of ANC and DAC RNs. This study will involve 2 phases. In phase I, focus groups will be used to identify and incorporate Department of the Army and military environment-specific ethical issues into the Ethical Issues Scale. Participants for the focus groups will include ANC officers in TOE units and both ANC and DAC RNs in Medical Treatment Facilities. Participants for the focus groups will be selected to represent the variety of environments where ANC and DAC RNs provide care to our beneficiaries. The issues identified in the focus groups will be added to the Ethical Issues Scale. Phase II of the study will occur after the Ethical Issues Scale has been revised. Phase II will involve completion of a survey mailed to all ANC and DAC RNs in Medical Treatment Facilities and TOE units. Approximately 30 minutes will be required to complete the survey. Ordinal level data will be analyzed with frequency and contingency tables. Interval level data will be described with means, ranges, and standard deviations, as appropriate. Nonparametric, Chi-Sqaure, will be used to determine if there is a signficant difference in the issues experienced by ANC oficers and DAC RNs. This study will provide information about the ethical issues experienced in the workplace by ANC and DAC RNs. Additionally, the results for this study will provide information concerning the ethics education requirements of ANC and DAC RNs. Appropriate ethics education programs can address the ethical issues experienced by miitary nurses and prepare our nurses to practice ethically, ensuring protection of patient's rights and enhancement of quality care.