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ethical competence, ethical safety, nurse, nurse leaders, organizational and individual support, work satisfaction



  1. Poikkeus, Tarja
  2. Suhonen, Riitta
  3. Katajisto, Jouko
  4. Leino-Kilpi, Helena


Background: Organizations and nurse leaders do not always effectively support nurses' ethical competence. More information is needed about nurses' perceptions of this support and relevant factors to improve it.


Purpose: The aim of the study was to examine relationships between nurses' perceived organizational and individual support, ethical competence, ethical safety, and work satisfaction.


Methodology: A cross-sectional questionnaire survey was conducted. Questionnaires were distributed to nurses (n = 298) working in specialized, primary, or private health care in Finland. Descriptive statistics, multifactor analysis of variance, and linear regression analysis were used to test the relationships.


Results: The nurses reported low organizational and individual support for their ethical competence, whereas perceptions of their ethical competence, ethical safety, and work satisfaction were moderate. There were statistically significant positive correlations between both perceived individual and organizational support, and ethical competence, nurses' work satisfaction, and nurses' ethical safety.


Conclusions: Organizational and individual support for nurses' ethical competence should be strengthened, at least in Finland, by providing more ethics education and addressing ethical problems in multiprofessional discussions. Findings confirm that organizational level support for ethical competence improves nurses' work satisfaction. They also show that individual level support improves nurses' sense of ethical safety, and both organizational and individual support strengthen nurses' ethical competence.


Practice Implications: These findings should assist nurse leaders to implement effective support practices to strengthen nurses' ethical competence, ethical safety, and work satisfaction.