University of Oulu

Koskinen, C., Koskinen, M., Koivula, M., Korpi, H., Koskimäki, M., Lähteenmäki, M.-L., … Kääriäinen, M. (2020). Health and social care educators’ ethical competence. Nursing Ethics, 27(4), 1115–1126.

Health and social care educators’ ethical competence

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Author: Koskinen, Camilla1; Koskinen, Monika1; Koivula, Meeri2;
Organizations: 1Åbo Akademi University, Finland
2University of Tampere, Finland
3University of Jyväskylä, Finland
4Tampere University of Applied Sciences, Finland
5University of Oulu, Finland
6University of Eastern Finland, Finland
7University of Turku, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: SAGE Publications, 2020
Publish Date: 2019-10-24


Background and purpose: Educators’ ethical competence is of crucial importance for developing students’ ethical thinking. Previous studies describe educators’ ethical codes and principles. This article aims to widen the understanding of health- and social care educators’ ethical competence in relation to core values and ethos.

Theoretical background and key concepts: The study is based on the didactics of caring science and theoretically links the concepts ethos and competence.

Methods: Data material was collected from nine educational units for healthcare and social service in Finland. In total 16 semi-structured focus group interviews with 48 participants were conducted. The interviews were analysed with a thematic analysis according to Braun and Clarke.

Ethical considerations: The study is approved by the Declaration of Helsinki, the legislation regarding personal data and the General Data Protection Regulation. The study received ethical permission from the University of Jyväskylä. Informed consent was obtained from all the educational units and participants in the study.

Findings: The findings are presented based on three general patterns, an ethical basic motive, an ethical bearing and ethical actions. Subthemes are Humane view of students as unique individuals with individual learning, Bearing of tactfulness and firmness, Bearing of perceptiveness and accessibility, Bearing of satisfaction and joy over student learning, Valuing bearing towards each oneself and colleagues, Ability to interact and flexibility, Collegiality and a supportive work community and Educators as role models and inspirators.

Conclusion: Educators’ personal and professional ethos is crucial to student learning, personal growth and ethical reasoning. Therefore, it is important to further develop educators’ training regarding ethical competence.

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Series: Nursing ethics
ISSN: 0969-7330
ISSN-E: 1477-0989
ISSN-L: 0969-7330
Volume: 27
Issue: 4
Pages: 1115 - 1126
DOI: 10.1177/0969733019871678
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 316 Nursing
Copyright information: © The Author(s) 2019. Reprinted by permission of SAGE Publications. The Definitive Version of Record can be found online at: