The Role of Oncology Nurses as Ethicists: Training, Opportunities, and Implications for Practice

Joyce Neumann

Valerie Counts

Colleen Jernigan
ethics, oncology nursing, decision making, continuing education
CJON 2019, 23(1), 103-107. DOI: 10.1188/19.CJON.103-107

Ethical challenges are inherent in oncology clinical practice. Ranging from transitions in care to code status and treatment decisions, these ethical challenges can have an acute effect on nurses, with well-established connections to moral distress and other psycho-emotional sequelae. The availability of a nurse ethicist can provide invaluable resources to support nurses in awareness of ethical challenges and support for ethical decision making in practice.


  • The nurse ethicist is in a unique position to influence patient care and outcomes and support nursing practice.
  • Providing routine opportunities for discussion of ethical concerns promotes a deeper understanding of the management of challenging issues.
  • Ethical resources exist that can be applied to any oncology setting to enrich clinical practice.
Members Only
Not a current ONS member or journal subscriber?

Purchase This Article

Receive a PDF to download and print.