Values provide individuals with a moral compass of right and wrong as well as establish a code of living. Ethics, like values, are individualistic and both values and ethics are shaped by previous experience, education, and the environment. Academic leaders and faculty are responsible to maintain a safe culture and shared perceptions of what is acceptable and how ethical misconduct should be handled when it occurs. As with any organization, educational institutions have the potential for wrongdoing. If unethical behavior is allowed to flourish, such behavior can jeopardize both the ethical and accountable requirements and contribute to a climate of wrongdoing; thus, contributing to a climate that lacks respect for human rights and protections across all sectors of society.
Throughout the professional lives of clinicians, researchers, academic leaders, and faculty; ethical questions and scenarios surface on a daily basis. Rolfe (2013) suggests that the academic environment is in ruins and has changed significantly since the origin of the university. He also outlined a strong argument that raised important concerns and questions about the cultures of universities with some practical implications of the fact that the university is no longer the privileged site of society’s self-reflection upon the nature of its communities. Rather, universities function as business corporations with the bottom line—profit for product sold to students. One point raised by Rolfe was that nurses need to find a way of dwelling in the ruins of the university, to realistically and productively satisfy and reconcile the demands of the university and of the nursing profession. Another point raised was that excellence in research in the university means research that brings in money; not excellent research in improving the lives of patients and work that helps us to think differently and productively about particular problems. These ethical concerns and questions raised by Rolfe (2013) are vital because they tether us to each other, even though not everyone will feel this way. The delineation between right and wrong, good and evil is a sharp line that can become blurred. The nursing profession is struggling and some of the concerns are that nurses are disempowered, ruled by other professions, and continue to be measured by people who will always put their profession above nursing.
Rolfe, G. (2013). “Thinking as a subversive activity: Doing philosophy in the corporate university.” Nursing Philosophy 14 (1): 28-37.