Inside scoop from our experts: Educating staff about ethics and codes of behavior

HCPro's Weekly Update on the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program®*, October 13, 2009

This week, a reader asks about best practices for educating staff about ethics and social conduct. Read the response from advisor Meryl Montgomery, RN, MSN, ANCC Magnet Recognition Program® coordinator at the Medical Center of Central Georgia in Macon:

Q: I'm looking for ideas on how to educate staff about the ANA Code of Ethics, staffing guidelines, and social conduct.

A: We educate nursing staff about these topics in a variety of ways. Articulating ethics and social conduct standards needs to begin with the hiring process and the use of patterned/behavioral interview techniques with candidates. We also use peer panel interviews in most units, so a variety of nurses are involved in assessing applicant responses.

Social conduct is addressed in our general orientation through discussion of our core cultural behaviors. Ethics is further addressed via use of case studies during nursing-specific orientation. We also address ethics in our Transition into Practice interactive sessions we hold for new graduates.

Ethics are woven into multiple courses, from unit-specific to hospitalwide offerings such as ACLS, PALS, management of pain, care of geriatric patient, palliative care, etc.

We have a charge nurse orientation class and precepted checklist that we use to ensure staffing guideline education is specific to the unit and patient population. Annually, mandatory computer-based education covers social conduct and ethics content and includes test questions. Finally, during the performance review process, managers provide education for those nurses who do not receive a competent score in any area.

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