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How may ethics best be described?
a. The philosophical study of morality
b. The study of right versus wrong
c. The beliefs and norms of a society
d. The application of ethical principles to moral issues

Correct A: Ethics, the philosophical study of morality, is the systematic exploration of what is morally right and wrong.


Which of the following is the focus of normative ethics?
a. The analysis of morality without taking a moral position
b. The question of what is right or wrong
c. Explaining how moral attitudes and beliefs differ from person to person
d. Distinguishing between what is normal and what is not

Correct B: Normative ethics focuses on the reasons or arguments that guide decisions about what is right and wrong. Basic principles and virtues are identified to guide morality and provide coherent, systematic, and justifiable answers to moral questions.


Which of the following fields of ethics applies ethical theories and principles to actual moral problems?
a. Philosophical ethics
b. Biomedical ethics
c. Nursing ethics
d. Applied ethics

Correct D: Applied ethics is the field of ethics where theories and principles are applied to actual moral problems to assist in guiding decision making.


Which of the following exists when mutually exclusive alternatives can both be supported by strong moral reasons?
a. Moral distress
b. An ethical dilemma
c. A value conflict
d. A moral conflict

Correct B: An ethical dilemma arises when the best course of action is unclear and there are strong moral reasons supporting each opposing position.


What is the result when a nurse believes that a course of action is correct, but is prevented (through a law or policy, for example) from carrying out that action or influencing the decision, resulting in feelings of guilt?
a. An ethical dilemma
b. Moral distress
c. Ethical reasoning
d. Moral irresponsibility

Correct B: Moral distress results when a person is faced with ethical issues or conflicting values and cannot deal effectively with them.


What is the correct terminology to describe a framework of principles and guidelines that helps to identify ethical issues and reconcile conflicts?
a. Ethical principles
b. Ethical theory
c. Ethical values
d. Descriptive ethics

Correct B: Ethical theory is the study of the nature and justification of general ethical principles that can be applied to moral problems.


Which of the following describes the concept of equality for all Canadians?
a. A belief
b. A value
c. A principle
d. A moral dilemma

Correct B: Equality for all is a societal value; the majority of Canadians subscribe to this ideal. A value has significant meaning to an individual, group, or society.


A nurse’s support of client autonomy is an example of which of the following?
a. A value system
b. A personal value
c. A professional value
d. A bioethical value

Correct C: Professional values build and expand on personal values. The value of client autonomy is a professional (and possibly personal) value and is evident in codes of ethics and professional standards for nurses.


Which of the following theories may guide nurses to choose actions that will lead to the best consequences, outcomes, or results?
a. Utilitarian
b. Deontological
c. Normative
d. Relative

Correct A: Utilitarianism is a teleological theory in which the ethical choice is the one with the best consequences, outcomes, or results.


What is the main principle underlying a rule-based theory of utilitarianism?
a. The theory is always deontological.
b. The theory considers individual acts.
c. The theory considers general patterns of behaviour.
d. The theory is the foundation of nursing ethics.

Correct C: Correct, general patterns of behaviour are the foundation of rule-based theory. Rule-based theories consider general patterns of behaviour, whereas act-based theories consider individual acts. Both rule- and act-based theories are utilitarian (in which the best choice is the one with the best outcomes).


Which of the following is the basis for ethical decision-making frameworks?
a. Ethical reasoning
b. Ethical values
c. Ethical dilemmas
d. Ethical principles

Correct D: Ethical principles are generally universal; they serve as rules to guide moral conduct and provide a framework for ethical decision making.


What is the main difference between deontological and teleological theories?
a. Teleological theory focuses on choosing correct actions.
b. Deontological theory focuses on ends or outcomes and consequences of decisions.
c. Deontological theory suggests that standards for moral behaviour are independent of the ends or outcomes of actions.
d. Teleological theory is rule-based.

Correct C: Deontological theory suggests that standards for moral behavior are independent of the ends or outcomes of actions, whereas teleological theory focuses on the outcomes and consequences of actions.


Which of the following ethical principles is the foundation of informed consent?
a. Beneficence
b. Justice
c. Nonmaleficence
d. Autonomy

Correct D: Autonomy, or self-determination (including the right to choose one’s own path), is the foundation of informed consent.


Which of the following influenced the shift in ethical thinking away from abstract rules that reinforce a deductive reasoning process?
a. Patricia Benner
b. Maternalistic attitudes
c. Feminine ethics
d. The principle of nonmaleficence

Correct C: Feminine ethics argues for an inductive process in which the starting point is the individual’s circumstances or personal story. It has influenced the shift in ethical thinking away from abstract rules that reinforce a deductive reasoning process.


Which of the following considers the influence of the nurse–patient relationship on ethical decision making?
a. Caring ethics
b. Autonomous ethics
c. Feminine ethics
d. Relational ethics

Correct D: Relational ethics considers the influence of the nurse–patient relationship on ethical decision making. If the entire focus is on ethical principles, and the relationship between the nurse and the patient is ignored, then relational ethics is not present and the nurse may become disengaged