Giving voice to values: An undergraduate nursing curriculum project


Among the competency standards stipulated by the Australian Nursing and Midwifery Council for graduating students are competencies in moral and ethical decision making and ethics education within professions such as nursing has traditionally focussed on these competencies, on raising ethical awareness and developing skills of analysis and reasoning. However, ethics education in tertiary settings places less emphasis on developing students’ capacities to act on their values.

This paper explains and explores the adoption of Dr. Mary Gentile's curriculum (the Giving Voice to Values curriculum) which specifically focuses on developing students’ capacities to act on their values. The curriculum (Gentile, 2010) assists students and professionals to explore, script and rehearse responses which build upon their capacity to respond in accordance with their own values in complex workplace settings in which they face conflicts of value and belief.

The paper firstly examines the theoretical underpinnings of the Giving Voice to Values (GVV) curriculum. It then presents the integration and evaluation phase of a Project inspired by the GVV methodology, using a case study approach within two areas of an undergraduate nursing curriculum. As a pilot project, this initiative has provided signposts to further curriculum development and to research pathways within the UNDA School of Nursing, by highlighting students’ uncertainties regarding their own professional values, and their intense struggles to voice their values within health care contexts.


values, nursing ethics, values education, values curriculum

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