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Ethics Education: Using Storytelling to Teach Ethics to Novice Oncology Nurses

Lisa M. Wall

ethics, bioethics, ethical decision-making, storytelling, cultural diversity
CJON 2021, 25(6), E63-E68. DOI: 10.1188/21.CJON.E63-E68

Background: Oncology nurses face unique challenges in the care of patients from culturally diverse backgrounds. Culture, values, and preferences play important roles in patient decision-making regarding goals of care and treatment.

Objectives: This article describes the content and outcome of an educational seminar for nurse residents, which uses storytelling to highlight the relationship between dynamic cultural influences and ethical decision-making.

Methods: A 75-minute didactic seminar using storytelling, role-playing, and simulation was incorporated into a nurse residency program. Stories illustrate the role of oncology nurses in protecting and advocating for vulnerable patients, respecting and accommodating cultural differences, and increasing self-awareness of personal values that may influence decisions. Tests were administered to participants before, immediately after, and three months after the seminar to measure changes in knowledge.

Findings: Over one year, 107 novice oncology nurses, in five cohorts, attended the seminar. Results demonstrated an overall increase and sustainment of knowledge regarding ethical decision-making in nurse residents and illustrated the effectiveness of storytelling as a method to promote ethical decision-making among staff.

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