Take me to my leader: The importance of ethical leadership among formal nurse leaders

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Although ethical leadership by formal nurse leaders is critical to enhancing ethical health-care practice, research has shown that many nurses feel unsupported by their leaders. In this article, we consider the limited attention directed toward ethical leadership of formal nurse leaders and how our own research on ethical nurse leadership compares to other research in this field. In searching Nursing Ethics since its inception 20 years ago, we found only a dozen articles that directly addressed this topic. We then reviewed nurses’ professional codes of ethics in Canada and found significant retractions of ethical guidelines for formal nurse leaders’ ethical responsibilities over the past decade. We began to seek explanations of why this is so and offer some recommendations for the study and enhancement of ethics for formal nurse leadership.

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