THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MORAL JUDGMENT AND MORAL ACTION AMONG PROFESSIONAL NURSES

VIRGINIA ANN TURNER, Fordham University

Abstract

The study sought to determine the relationship between stage of Moral Reasoning measured by Kohlberg's Moral Judgment Interview, and Moral Action in a simulated nursing moral dilemma situation. Moral Reasoning refers to Kohlberg's cognitive developmental theory of the processes employed by the individual faced with a dilemma involving the choice between two conflicting courses of action in a specific situation involving moral issues. The sample consisted of 40 registered professional nurses employed in hospitals and agencies in the metropolitan area of New York.^ The study was conducted because many baccalaureate nursing programs have begun to include in their curricula modules designed to raise the stage of moral judgment used by nursing students as they confront dilemmas relevant to nursing practice. The object of such curriculum modules generally is to raise the level from the conventional level to the post-conventional or principled level. However, no previous study demonstrated empirically that there is any relationship between the stage of moral reasoning a nurse employs in her decision-making and the quality of her action.^ So subjects confronted a simulated nursing dilemma situation in which they could: (1) do nothing; (2) provide indirect assistance to an individual in need of help; or (3) provide direct personal assistance to a person in need of help. Following the simulation, they responed to an open-ended interview format and completed the Kohlberg Moral Judgment Interview.^ Findings indicated significant relationships between nurses' measured stage of moral reasoning and the degree of assistance they provided. Findings also indicated a significant relationship between measured stage of moral reasoning and the consistency between what subjects believed they should do and what they were observed to do.^ Findings were interpreted as lending support to Kohlberg's theory of moral development and suggested the value of the inclusion of moral development modules in nursing curricula. ^

Subject Area

Nursing|Educational philosophy

Recommended Citation

TURNER, VIRGINIA ANN, "THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MORAL JUDGMENT AND MORAL ACTION AMONG PROFESSIONAL NURSES" (1984). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI8423138.
https://fordham.bepress.com/dissertations/AAI8423138

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