Curriculum Guideline

Ethics For Psychiatric Nursing

Effective Date:
Course Code
PHIL 3125
Ethics For Psychiatric Nursing
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Not Specified
Semester Length
Max Class Size
35 (classroom), 20 (online)
Contact Hours
4 hrs. per week / semester
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction

Learning activities in this course are designed to engage students to apply the concepts, skills and principles of psychiatric nursing ethics.  As studies, current events and political, ethical and professional issues will be utilized in discussion and debate forums as well as critical reflection and critical thinking exercises.

Course Description
This course is intended to engender student appreciation for the role and significance of philosophy and the relationship to the development of knowledge and analytical reasoning related to psychiatric nursing ethics in their personal and professional lives. By examining ethical theories, concepts, principles and decision-making models, participants have the opportunity to develop strategies and techniques for reaching decisions when confronted with professional practice issues.

This course is restricted to Psychiatric Nursing Diploma/Degree students.
Course Content

The focus of this course is applied ethics as it relates to psychiatric nursing practice.  Theoretical perspectives which empower individuals and families; adhere to fundamental human rights principles; respect autonomy; attend to diversity issues; attend to family and team inputs; and, attend to and apply professional codes, competencies and standards of practice, will be integrated into content areas.  Following is a brief synopsis of broad content areas.  Other content may be included, depending on experiences, interests and choices of course participants:

  • Ethical perspective such as: utilitarianism, Kantian deontology, care ethics, moral relativism;
  • Concepts such as advocacy, autonomy, paternalism, informed consent;
  • Principles such as:  beneficence/non-maleficence, justice, fidelity;
  • Moral reasoning skills;
  • Ethical problems in psychiatric nursing practice (research findings, praxis examples): moral distress in psychiatric nursing, inequities in resource allocation, informed consent, prolongation of life, team conflict and communication.
Learning Outcomes

In this course students will have opportunities to:       

  • Develop an awareness and sensitivity to ethical issues and potential ethical concerns in their psychiatric nursing practice.
  • Examine various ethical theories, concepts, principles and decision-making models.
  • Develop strategies for ethical and moral decision-making.
  • Apply ethical and moral reasoning and decision-making to ethical problems in psychiatric nursing.
Means of Assessment

The course evaluation is consistent with Douglas College evaluation policy.  An evaluation schedule is presented at the beginning of the course.


This is a graded course and students will be required to attain a minimum of C or 60%.

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students


A list of required and optional textbooks and materials is provided for students at the beginning of each semester.