INFLUENCE OF ROLE DISCRIPTION AND SHIFT WORK ON ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR OF NURSES

INFLUENCE OF ROLE DISCRIPTION AND SHIFT WORK ON ETHICAL BEHAVIOUR OF NURSES

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background of the study

A disturbing but unavoidable fact of organization life is that employees sometimes engage in ethically questionable activities that harm their companies, their co-workers, or the general public (Ugwu, 2011). The question of ethics is one that is linked with the history of mankind. It deals with good or bad, right or wrong of behavior, it evaluates conducts against some absolute criteria and puts negative or positive value on it (Hanekon, 1984; Guy, 1990). What is needed in today’s complicated times is for more organizations to step forward and operate with one positive ethical culture. Besides, understanding the meaning of ethics and morality requires the distasteful reworking of the long forgotten classroom studies. Possibly, a gap in philosophical knowledge exists between organizations. They have and will continue to be a surge of interest in ethics (Dordrecht, 1992). Ethics is the branch of philosophy that investigates morality and the way of thinking that guide human behavior. It involves initially from religion of thinkers in the Judeo-Christian tradition. Ethics involves examining moral standards of society and asking how these standards are reasonable or unreasonable. Thus, ethics examines the moral standards of society, assesses their reasonableness or not, and evaluates the impact of these standards upon the lives of individuals. Implicit in this is the notion of the common good, which is one of the factors that determine whether an act is right or wrong (Vee & Skit More, 2003). Ethics also refers to the study and development of one’s ethical standard, feeling, laws, and social norms. So it is necessary to constantly examine one’s standard to ensure that they are reasonable and well-founded. Ethics also means the continuous efforts of studying our own moral beliefs and our moral conduct, and striving to ensure that we, and the institution we help to shape, lives up to standards that are reasonable and solidly-based (Velasquez, Andre, Shant & Meyer, 1987). Formally defined, ethical behaviour is that which is normally accepted as ‘right’ as opposed to ‘bad’ or ‘wrong’ in a particular setting. Is it ethical, for example to pay a bribe to obtain a business contract in a foreign country? Is it ethical to allow your company to withhold information that might discourage a job candidate from joining your organization? Etc. Despite ones’ initial inclination in response to these questions, the major point of it all is to remind organisations that the public at large is demanding that government officials, managers, workers in general and the organizations they represent all act according to high ethical standards. The future will bring a renewed concern with maintaining high standard of ethical behaviour in organizational transactions in the work place (Dordrecht, 1992). Ethical behaviour is characterized by honesty, fairness and equity in interpersonal, professional and academic relationships, and in research and scholarly activities. Ethical behaviour respects the dignity, diversity, and rights of individuals and group of people. This definition is not a denial of the existence of other ethical duties with respect to practice, professional service delivery and research. These words demonstrate the significance of the language in which moral issues are concluded, or ‘moral training,’ using moral language (words like integrity honesty, fairness, propriety or lying, cheating, stealing), will more likely trigger moral thinking because these terms are attached to existing cognitive categories that have moral content (Crane & Matten, 2004). While ethics is concerned with human conduct in general, researchers such as Ray, Brook, More & Fraser (1999) identified ethical issues in the organization as falling into two categories. These are: Personal ethics and Professional ethics. Personal ethics describes ethics as generally constituting a system of moral principles by which human actions and proposals may be judged good or bad, right or wrong; the rules of conduct recognized in respect of a particular class of actions and the moral principles of the individuals. Professional ethics on the other hand, refers to the behaviour expected of an individual in a workplace or in an organization or a particular group within the organization that is bound by a set of principles, attitudes or types of character dispositions that control the way the profession is practices (Vee & Skit More, 2003). To clarify the term ‘Professional’, Ray et al (1999) defined Professional as a group of people organised to serve a body of specialized knowledge in the interest of the society. Professional ethics involves assessing each decision in practise not only in regard to individuals’ moral concerns but also in terms of professional norms. ‘Profession’ is defined as including all tiers of the organization itself as well as the Client(s) and the government. Kaiser & Hogan (2006) highlighted the importance of temporal connections between role discretion and shift work and the meaning people assign to their activities and engagements. Discretion is a multifaceted variable that reflects the degree to which employees can turn their intentions into reality, what Hambrick & Finkelsten (1987) called ‘Latitude of action’. When discretion is low, managerial judgement and behaviour are constrained, while when it is high, employees are relatively free to do as they wish. Thus, discretion Is a situational variable that moderates how much workers can affect organizational processes and outcomes. Some line of researches has shown how discretion influences leadership in an organizational sector such as social psychology of discretion, which is an influential critique of traditional personality psychology. Mischel (1968) argued that behavior is determined by situational factors rather than personality variables. He later considered that personality may influence behavior but only in ‘weak situations’. According to Mischel (1968), strong situations provides clear, unambiguous cues about appropriate behavior and that lead to less variability in how people respond.

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

Health workers are as vital as the security operative in every modern security as the society cannot do without the service of these personnel. In Nigeria nursing is one of the reference profession by the single ladies. As vital and interesting as these profession is, there are some factors which militate against the occupation; it is on these backdrop that the researcher intends to investigate the influence of role description and shift work on ethical behavior of nurses in Nigeria.

1.3       OBJECTIVE OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study is to investigate the influence of role description and shift work on ethical behavior of nurses. But for the purpose of the study, the researcher intends to achieve the following objectives;

i)               To ascertain the influence of role description on the performance of nurses

ii)            To ascertain the effect ethical behavior on the nursing profession

iii)          To ascertain the effect of shift in occupational stress of nurses

iv)          To ascertain the relationship between ethical behavior and role description in nursing profession.

1.4       RESEARCH HYPOTHESES

For the successful completion of the study, the following hypotheses were formulated by the researcher;

H0: shift work has no influence on the occupation of nurses in Nigeria.

H1: shift work has a significance influence on the occupation of nurses in Nigeria.

H02: role description has no relationship with ethical behavior of nurses in Nigeria.

H2: role description has relationship with ethical behavior of nurses in Nigeria.

1.3       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

At the completion of the study it is believed that the findings will be of great importance to the Nigerian medical association in advising the heads of the health sector in structuring their job schedule or shift. The study will also be of great importance the national association of nurses and midwives in protecting the interest of her members to ensure that the job schedule is not conflicting and detrimental to the marital status of her members. The study will also be of great importance to researchers who intend to embark on research on similar topic. Finally the study will be of great importance to academia, teachers, lecturers, students and the general public.

1.4       SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the study covers the influence of shift work and marital status on occupational stress among nurses in Nigeria. In the course of the study; the researcher encounters some constrain which limited the scope of the study.

(a)Availability of research material: The research material available to the researcher is insufficient, thereby limiting the study.     

(b)Time: The time frame allocated to the study does not enhance wider coverage as the researcher has to combine other academic activities and examinations with the study.         

(c)Finance: The finance available for the research work does not allow for wider coverage as resources are very limited as the researcher has other academic bills to cover.

1.7 DEFINITION OF TERMS

Nursing

Nursing is a profession within the health care sector focused on the care of individuals, families, and communities so they may attain, maintain, or recover optimal health and quality of life. Nurses may be differentiated from other health care providers by their approach to patient caretraining, and scope of practice. Nurses practice in many specialism’s with differing levels of prescriber authority. Many nurses provide care within the ordering scope of physicians, and this traditional role has shaped the public image of nurses as care providers. However, nurses are permitted by most jurisdictions to practice independently in a variety of settings depending on training level. In the postwar period, nurse education has undergone a process of diversification towards advanced and specialized credentials, and many of the traditional regulations and provider roles are changing.

Occupation: an activity in which one engages

Shift work

Shift work is an employment practice designed to make use of, or provide service across, all 24 hours of the clock each day of the week (often abbreviated as 24/7). The practice typically sees the day divided into shifts, set periods of time during which different groups of workers perform their duties. The term "shift work" includes both long-term night shifts and work schedules in which employees change or rotate shifts


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