Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Committee Member

Lori Candela

Second Committee Member

Susan Kowalski

Third Committee Member

Rhigel Tan

Fourth Committee Member

LeAnn Putney

Number of Pages



Nurses face ethically-charged situations every day, yet ethics education is not universally integrated into pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing programs. Like other forms of competence, ethical competence requires development. Nurse educators are poised to impact on the competence of their students, both defining the ethics content and designing students' exposure. The purpose of this study is to describe the concept of ethical competence from the perspective of baccalaureate nursing faculty and describe current methods of integration and evaluation of ethics education in pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing programs. This research will be conducted using a sequential (quantitative-qualitative) mixed method approach. The first phase of this mixed method study includes an online survey designed to gather data from nurse educators regarding basic demographics and educational preparation, as well as information related to the nursing program where the participant is currently a nurse educator. Open-ended questions included on the survey are designed to collect beginning information on the concept of ethical competence. Data and content analysis will inform decisions regarding sampling for the second phase of the study, which involves semi-structured telephone interviews designed to more fully explore the concept of ethical competence. Nurse educators who will be included in the original sample teach pre-licensure baccalaureate nursing students and are employed part-time or full-time at a CCNE-accredited program that is located in one of four identified states (California, Illinois, Texas, or New York). The pragmatic worldview provided by Dewey provides a meaningful framework for this research, supporting a mixed method approach and providing insight into the concept of ethical competence.


BSN students; Competence; Ethical competence; Nursing education; Nursing ethics – Studying and teaching; Nursing students



File Format


Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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