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Co-operative Learning Group 5: Ethical Principles in Nursing Practice - HEA00104H

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  • Department: Health Sciences
  • Module co-ordinator: Mr. Michael Wolverson
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2019-20

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching cycle
A Autumn Term 2019-20 to Spring Term 2019-20

Module aims

This module aims to help students explore how key ethical principles combine with subjective and objective data from the phenomenological and empirical paradigms combine to inform nursing assessments and plans of care (SOAP process). It seeks to help students consider how practice judgements are formulated and guides them to explore the ethical nature and implications of their nursing actions. Students will draw on their Ethical Way of Knowing (Carper 1978) alongside knowledge gained in related field specific modules to gain understanding of the key ethical principles underpinning autonomous nursing practice.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  1. Explore the key ethical principles that underpin nursing practice.
  2. Discern between ethical principles and the law in application to nursing practice.
  3. Analyse critically the ethical issues related to making autonomous decisions.
  4. Consider the ethical frameworks in which nursing decisions are made, with particular regard for practice guidelines and professional regulations.
  5. Discuss the ethical implications of nursing actions.


Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3000 words
N/A 100

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Essay - 3000 words
N/A 100

Module feedback

Written feedback for summative assessment is provided on the standard proforma, within the timescale specified in the programme handbook.

Indicative reading

  • Beauchamp, T.L. and Childress, J.L. (2009). Principles of biomedical ethics. 6th edn. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Benner, P., Tanner, C.A. and Chesla, C. (2009). Expertise in nursing practice: caring, clinical judgement and ethics. 2nd edn. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
  • Banks, S. (2009). Ethics in professional life: virtues for health and social care. Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Carper, B. (1978). Fundamental patterns of knowing in nursing. Advances in Nursing Science, 1(1), 13-23.
  • Ellis, P. (2015). Understanding ethics for nursing students. London: Sage Publications.
  • Griffith, R.A. and Tengnah, C. (2010). Law and professional issues in nursing. 2nd edn. Exeter: Learning Matters.
  • Icheku, V. (2012). Understanding ethics and ethical decision-making: case studies and discussions. London: SG Williams.
  • Lave, J. and Wenger, E. (1990). Situated learning: legitimate peripheral participation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • NMC (2015). The Code: Professional standards of practice and behaviour for nurses and midwives. London: NMC. [Online]. Available at:
  • Thompson, C. and Dowding, D. (2009). Essential decision-making and clinical judgement for nurses. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
  • Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of practice. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): changes to courses

The 2020/21 academic year will start in September. We aim to deliver as much face-to-face teaching as we can, supported by high quality online alternatives where we must.

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