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Registration for the Winter 2020 semester begins soon.  Watch your email for more details.
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Ethics For Psychiatric Nursing

Course Code: PHIL 3125
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: Philosophy
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

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.

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.

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%.

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.

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.