Date of Conferral





Public Policy and Administration


Eliesh Lane


Healthcare professionals are tasked with making key decisions involving new and controversial approaches such as organ transplantation and life-prolonging technologies and treatments that raise various ethical issues. Suboptimal ethical choices by nurses can lead to negative patient outcomes and lower the quality of life in federal healthcare facilities. The purpose of this nonexperimental quantitative correlational study was to identify the factors that influence nurses’ ethical decision-making processes in U.S. federal healthcare facilities. The theoretical framework was based on Beauchamp and Childress’ ethical system of principlism. Three research questions addressed the nature and extent of the relationship between nurses’ Ethical Behavior Test (EBT) scores and personal experiences, professional experiences, and professional ethics training. A quantitative correlational design using the EBT questionnaire to collect data from a convenience sample of 381 nurses. Data analysis included descriptive statistics and multiple linear regression at the 0.05 significance level. Findings indicated a significant relationship between EBT scores and personal experiences (p < 0.0001), professional experiences (p < 0.0001), and professional ethics training (p < 0.015). In conclusion, professional ethics training and personal and professional experiences significantly predicted nurses’ ethical behaviors. Professional training for nurses in ethical decision-making is recommended to allow them to effectively apply ethics in clinical practice. Implications for social change include informing nursing educators and public health policymakers of these influences so they can design interventions.