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Ethical climate in nursing environment: A scoping review

Background:In the past two decades, interest in the concept of ethical climate and in its research has increased in healthcare. Ethical climate is viewed as a type of organizational work climate, and defined as the shared perception of ethically correct behavior, and how ethical issues should be handled in the organization. Ethical climate as an important element of nursing environment has been the focus of several studies. However, scoping reviews of ethical climate research in nursing have not been conducted to guide further research in this area.Objective:The purpose of this scoping review is to describe and analyze studies focusing on ethical climate in nursing environment to elicit an overall picture of the research in this field.Methods:A scoping review methodology guided by Arksey and O’Malley and Levac et al. was used. Studies were identified by conducting electronic searches on PubMed/MEDLINE, CINAHL, Web of Science Core Collection, PsycINFO, and Scopus and Philosophers’ Index databases. Of 1051 citations, 56 articles matched the inclusion criteria.Ethical considerations:This study was conducted according to good scientific guidelines.Findings:Ethical climate is a topical research area which has been explored with different methods and outcomes, in different environments, and has mainly been perceived positively. The focus of the studies was on finding associations between ethical climate and work-related factors such as job satisfaction, moral distress, and turnover intentions. Methodologically, research was rather homogeneous using quantitative, descriptive, and correlative research designs.Conclusion:Novel perspectives and more diverse methodological approaches paying attentions to issues affecting generalizability of the findings could expand our knowledge in this area.

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