Undergraduate healthcare ethics education, moral resilience, and the role of ethical theories.

Monteverde, Settimio (2014). Undergraduate healthcare ethics education, moral resilience, and the role of ethical theories. Nursing ethics, 21(4), pp. 385-401. Sage Publications 10.1177/0969733013505308

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Background: This article combines foundational and empirical aspects of healthcare education and develops a framework for teaching ethical theories inspired by pragmatist learning theory and recent work on the concept of moral resilience. It describes an exemplary implementation and presents data from student evaluation. Objectives: After a pilot implementation in a regular ethics module, the feasibility and acceptance of the novel framework by students were evaluated. Research design: In addition to the regular online module evaluation, specific questions referring to the teaching of ethical theories were added using simple (yes/no) and Likert rating answer formats. Participants and research context: At the Bern University of Applied Sciences, a total of 93 students from 2 parallel sub-cohorts of the bachelor's program in nursing science were sent the online survey link after having been exposed to the same modular contents. A total of 62% of all students participated in the survey. Ethical considerations: The survey was voluntary and anonymous. Students were free to write their name and additional comments. Findings: Students consider ethical theories-as taught within the proposed framework-as practically applicable, useful, and transferable into practice. Discussion: Teaching ethical theories within the proposed framework overcomes the shortcomings described by current research. Students do not consider the mutually exclusive character of ethical theories as an insurmountable problem. Conclusion: The proposed framework is likely to promote the effectiveness of healthcare ethics education. Inspired by pragmatist learning theory, it enables students to consider ethical theories as educative playgrounds that help them to "frame" and "name" the ethical issues they encounter in daily practice, which is seen as an expression of moral resilience. Since it does not advocate a single ethical theory, but is open to the diversity of traditions that shape ethical thinking, it promotes a culturally sensitive, ethically reflected healthcare practice. Keywords: Education; ethical theories; healthcare ethics; moral complexity; moral resilience.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Health Professions
School of Health Professions > G Teaching


Monteverde, Settimio0000-0002-7041-2663


B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2361 Curriculum
R Medicine > RT Nursing




Sage Publications




Settimio Monteverde

Date Deposited:

20 Jul 2020 08:55

Last Modified:

18 Dec 2020 13:30

Publisher DOI:




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