The overall objective of the SimE project (2017- 2019) is to create three common study courses (6 ETCS) in order to develop more aligned VET programmes and increase ethical competence of nursing students in the Central Baltic region. As a result, the courses are embedded in each partner organisation’s curricula: Turku University of Applied Sciences, Riga Medical College of the University of Latvia and The Swedish Red Cross University College.

The SimE project is aiming to increase ethical competence among nursing students and prepare professionals to maintain an equal and ethical capability within our health-care systems in the Central Baltic region. This aim of the project will be achieved by providing a safe and effective learning environment for nursing students to practice complex ethical skills through simulation, discussion and practical training.

Course 1 Basic ethics in health care 2 ECTS will focus on understanding the essential concepts of ethics, moral and norms, to explore different ethical values, theories and principles within nursing care, to reflect on the code of ethics and its legal status within the nursing profession and to analyse ethical challenges in health care through problem solving cases and videos. Learning methods are online lectures (national / international literature and articles), web seminars and practice simulations: discussions, tasks with problem solving cases and videos demonstrating different ethical problems and examinations. The course will last four weeks and is divided into four themes. The themes are: theme 1 Basics (focuses on virtues, the essential concepts of ethics and the role of ethics in health care practice), theme 2 Theories (focuses on ethical principles and theories), theme 3 Codes (deals with nursing professions’ codes of ethics) and theme 4 Simu (deals with the ethical issues in different levels of health care through simulated video cases). The evaluation of students´ ethical competence is based on written tasks and evaluation criteria (accepted/failed).

Course 2 Ethical Coffee Room 1 ECT will focus on learning ethics during clinical practice in hospital or nursing homes. The students will evaluate and discuss together in the Ethical Coffee Room (electronical platform environment developed for the purpose, ECR) about ethical issues and dilemmas they meet during their practice. The mentors and teachers will supervise the discussions in ECR and give example cases, perspectives and advice to think about ethical questions and solutions. The participants are anonymous during the discussions. The Ethical Coffee Room (ECR) includes cases created by teachers and students’ own experiences of situations and dilemmas – discussions based on ethical codes and norms – learning ethical sensitivity in practice and how to discuss difficult issues. The assessment is based on active participation in discussions in the ECR (accepted/not accepted).

Course 3 Simulations in ethical issues 3 ECTS consists of six simulation practices. The nursing students have preliminary exercises before the simulation sessions and afterwards they reflectively discuss about their own ethical sensitivity and competence. The students will practice recognising ethical dilemmas in different patient care situations, patient groups and in different fields of health care. The students also practice giving feedback on ethical activity to their peers. The assessment is based on accepted participation in simulations (in simulator 2/6, observer 4/6) (accepted/not accepted).