The purpose of this descriptive study was to explore the concept of moral turpitude and related terms as they are used in the process of licensing professional nurses. The researchers reviewed applications for licensure and nurse practice acts or rules and regulations for nursing for the 50 states and Washington, DC. Terms such as moral turpitude, moral character, and morality are used by approximately half of the states and, when used, are not usually defined. Agreement among states on uniform definitions and standards of nursing practice can be a step toward aligning practice acts, bringing consistency to disciplinary actions, and informing the public about the profession's standards for practice.
From the College of Nursing, East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tenn.