An Ethical Nurse

As a Nursing Professor and Chair of Ethics at Ryerson Nancy Walton understand the struggle of clinicians and ethicists, this interview explores how she came to love the subject and how she hopes nurses begin to engage with the topic.

Dr Nancy Walton@researchEthics

Ryerson University

Associate Professor – Daphne Cockwell School of Nursing
Chair – Research Ethics Board

As many nurses begin to learn about patient care and research the topic of ethics comes up, or at least it should. In this interview I sit down with Nancy Walton, a nurse that found her love for ethics while pursuing her graduate education. She was the Associate Director at Ryerson University in 2009 and is the chair of their Research Ethics board. As an ethicist and a nurse Nancy understand difficulties that both sides encounter when they met. That said she is passionate about helping nurses to understand and use ethical reason to solve situations that arise in patient care and to plan their research. Although her career track to tenure has the traditional list of publications and academic work she is also using more accessible methods of writing through her website Research Ethics. In this interview we talk about her work, the importance of ethics for nursing, how nurses can get more involved and learn more about ethics.



Dr Nancy Walton RN: What do you feel would help you to further engage with ethics? How can educators and ethicists make it more accessible?

Rob Fraser RN: Have you ever taken ethics training? How was ethics taught to you?

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2 Responses to “An Ethical Nurse”

  1. Wengarcia
    June 9, 2010 at 10:25 pm #

    Excellent… we need to continue to encourage all nurses to utilize ethical principles in decision making…this challenges us to think.. how does ethics applies.

  2. Ricardo Espindola
    December 5, 2010 at 4:09 am #

    It is a natural tendency to relate ethical issues with those we consider the cherished essence of our being human, beyond bodies, emotions and thought. Our main feature as a species is to be aware of things above and beyond our time, space, awareness and experience. Coming from another culture, it has been difficult to understand the Canadian attachment to agnostics and the general detachment from religion -generally imposed by the mainstream who defines religion as the source of conflict, ignoring the fact that their rigid mentality regarding these issues, and the entitlement to dictate the rules of “multiculturalism”, and “tolerance”; might be the reason for much unhappiness in Canadian society. This philosophy encompass the way nursing ethics is taught, not inviting the intimate compromise of the students, but the objective ‘dis-embodiment’ of this sensitive personal facts . I propose that Ethic Boards should include members of all religions and the general analysis of the unnoticed commonalities of them all: Altruism, generosity, compassion and self-sacrifice. That may lay a bridge nurse-to-nurse and nurse-to-patient -by the way presenting a real alternative to the mainstream philosophy and challenging Canada to real tolerance and diversity. These last are born of the values of democracy and universal human rights, yet thrive and grow once they come in touch with ingrained, familiar principles of ‘goodness’ in which we personally (and sincerely) believe.

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