Nurses’ knowledge in ethics and their perceptions regarding continuing ethics education: a cross-sectional survey among nurses at three referral hospitals in Uganda
Osingada, Charles P
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Abstract Background High disease burden and scarcity of healthcare resources present complex ethical dilemmas for nurses working in developing countries. We assessed nurses’ knowledge in ethics and their perceptions about Continuous Nurses’ Ethics Education (CNEE) for in-service nurses. Methods Using an anonymous, pre-tested self-administered questionnaire, we assessed nurses’ knowledge in basic ethics concepts at three regional hospitals in Uganda. Adequate knowledge was measured by a score ≥50% in the knowledge assessment test. Nurses’ perceptions on CNEE were assessed using a six-point Likert scale. Results Of 114 nurses, 91% were female; with mean age 44.7 (SD 10) years. Half were diploma, 47 (41%) certificates, 6 (5%) bachelors’ degrees and one masters’ level training. Overall, 18 (16%) scored ≥50% in the ethics knowledge test. Nurses with diploma or higher level of nursing training were less likely to fail the ethics knowledge than certificate-level nurses (OR 0.14, 95% CI: 0.02–0.7). Only 45% had ever attended at least one CNEE session and up to 93% agreed that CNEE is required to improve nurses’ ethics knowledge and practice. Conclusions Nurses exhibited low knowledge in ethics and positive attitudes towards CNEE. We recommend structured CNEE programs to address basic concepts in nursing ethics and their application in clinical practice.