Resources for Educators

Find the tools you need to incorporate sexual and reproductive health and abortion care into your nursing curriculum.

Professional Ethics Nursing Education Module

January, 20 2017

Professional Ethics in Unintended Pregnancy Prevention and Care

professional ethics nursing education patient situation

Nursing students at every level of nursing education grapple with the concept of professional ethics because it can be difficult to translate to the real world of clinical practice. This module engages the student by applying professional ethical concepts to caring for the sexual and reproductive needs of patients, specifically regarding unintended pregnancy prevention and care.

This module provides a framework for discussing ethical clinical issues in nursing practice as they relate to unintended pregnancy prevention and care using the ANA Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements as the foundation. The biomedical principles and theoretical modules that form the basis of ethical statements are also discussed. This module supports students in developing their understanding of the right of the nurse to invoke a conscientious objection with the competing priority of the patient’s right to health care.

How to Use This Module 

This Nursing Education Curriculum is designed for a flipped classroom model to incorporate unintended pregnancy prevention and care into existing curricula.

Students—Click the student tab and complete the pre-assessment. You may have received a site code from your instructor which you may enter within the pre-assessment. Definitions and Orienting Facts provide context for the Patient Situations, which are clinical scenarios designed to raise critical issues and questions to put unintended pregnancy prevention and care in the context of Professional Ethics. Students should complete the Required Reading at any time while going through the Patient Situations. Please complete the post-assessment after finishing the module.

Faculty—Open the faculty tab below to access teaching tips, exercises, and handouts for incorporating module content into the classroom, and to learn more about obtaining a “site code” to download and access students’ pre- and post-assessment data.

Learning Objectives

  • Define the four bioethical, biomedical principles
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the professional nursing code of ethics
  • Apply the application of bioethics and nursing codes of ethics to UPPC
  • Compare and contrast four professional nursing organization’s ethical statements as relates to UPPC
  • Identify four health disciplines’ application of professional ethics to UPPC

Relevant UPPC Essential Competencies

Through a national Delphi study, Essential Competencies in Unintended Pregnancy Prevention and Care for Nursing Education (Hewitt, C. and Cappiello, J., 2015) 85 nursing experts in unintended pregnancy prevention and care reached consensus on 27 core educational competencies for nursing education which provide a framework for curricular development in an important area of nursing education. The following competencies are relevant to this nursing education module.

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the nurse’s professional ethical responsibilities in providing health care to clients.
  2. Demonstrate the ability to provide unintended pregnancy prevention and care that is free of evidence of bias and judgment.
  3. Demonstrate ability to recognize unique reproductive health needs of women from vulnerable and special populations (e.g. adolescents, women with mental or physical disabilities, survivors of violence) affected by many factors (e.g. relationship status, sexual orientation).
  4. Demonstrate ability to identify personal beliefs that may interfere with provision of nursing care.
  5. Demonstrate ability to apply the ethical principles of respect for autonomy, beneficence, non‐malfeasance, and justice as they relate to the care provision.



Within the context of professional ethics, this module aims to examine the tension between nurses as individuals with deeply held beliefs or biases, and the imperative to care for patients with a variety of needs. It is essential for nursing students to identify and confront their own beliefs that might hinder their ability to provide the highest quality of care to women seeking unintended pregnancy prevention and care services.

These modules are designed to use with a flipped classroom model in which students are directed to complete the module as homework, including the Pre- and Post-Assessments. Once students have completed the module in its entirety, including the recommended reading, faculty can use the Teaching Tips document and materials from the Classroom Exercises section below to integrate concepts from the module into the classroom or group setting.

Teaching Tips

Professional Ethics Teaching Tips

Classroom Exercises

The Abortion Option: A Values Clarification Guide for Health Care Professionals

These exercises from the National Abortion Federation include tools that can be used in class for clarifying values related to abortion and discussing the role of health care providers.

Exercise in Professionalism

Exercise in Professionalism – Learner Handout

In-Class Presentation

Professional Ethics PowerPoint

Accessing Student Pre- and Post-Assessment Data

Pre- and post-assessments are designed to measure students’ satisfaction with the module as well as what they have learned. To be able to complete the assessments students will need to enter a “site code” prior to working through the online module. Faculty will use this site code to download and review students’ pre- and post-assessment data. To obtain a site code your institution must e-mail In the text of the email, please include your name (as instructor), the name of the institution, and the module(s) for which you would like to access data. RhN will send you 1) a site code for your students to enter at the beginning of the assessment, 2) a web link to access the results from each module, and 3) an “answer key” to help grade your students’ responses. You may also assign a unique student code to each student that you would like to assess on an individual basis. Students must enter the correct site code for faculty to be able to access their data.