The Impact of the Implementation of an Honor Code and Educational Modules on Classroom and Clinical Behavior: A Pilot Study

Monday, 30 July 2012

Kimberly A. Mitchell, RN, PhD1
Kelly Jo Cone, PhD, RN, CNE2
Margaret M. Jacques, RN, MS1
Stephen J. Mattern, BA, MA3
(1)Nursing, Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing, Peoria, IL
(2)Saint Francis Medical Center College of Nursing, Peoria, IL
(3)Mission Services, Saint Francis Medical Center, Peoria, IL

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to summarize the freqency of unethical classroom and clinical behavior in a sample of undergraduate nursing students.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to describe the impact of an honor code and educational modules on ethical classroom and clinical behaviors.

Purpose: The purpose of this research study is to test the effect of implementation of an honor code and educational modules on the self-reported ethical classroom and clinical behaviors of undergraduate nursing students.

Methods: A longitudinal, descriptive research design will be used. The setting will be a private, Catholic, single purpose college of nursing in Illinois. The convenience sample will include 100 fulltime undergraduate nursing students. Participants will be recruited from the incoming class of students during new student orientation. Data regarding perceptions of ethical behavior will be collected using a 24 item self-administered survey called the modified Hilbert Unethical Behavior Survey (HUBS-M). The HUBS-M is comprised of one section on classroom behaviors and another on clinical behaviors. The content validity index for the HUBS-M is 95.8. The classroom behavior section will be administered during new student orientation (Time 1) when students are naïve to the school’s ethical behavior policy and have not had clinical experience. The classroom and clinical section will be administered at the end of the first semester (Time 2) after students have had clinical experience and have reviewed the five ethical behavior educational modules and the honor code.

Results: Descriptive statistics will measure dichotomous data, and ANOVA will be used to examine relationships between HUBS-M scores and categorical demographic variables. A Pearson correlation coefficient will evaluate relationships between clinical and classroom behaviors.  The reliability of the instrument will be assessed using inter-item correlation, inter-item covariance, and item-total statistics on the items in the scale, and Cronbach’s alpha for HUBS-M.

Conclusion: Results of the study are anticipated to address the knowledge gap regarding current data about unethical behavior of nursing students. Additionally, results will provide empirical data on the impact of academic honesty/ethical behavior policies and honor codes on ethical behavior of nursing students. Results will inform college administrators regarding potential future interventions to reduce unethical classroom and clinical behaviors.