A study of the foundations of ethical decision-making of nurses

A study of nurses and nursing students was conducted to determine the various philosophical positions they hold with respect to ethical decision-making in nursing and their relationship to the subjective-objective controversy in value theory. The study revealed that most nurses and nursing students tend to be subjectivists in value theory, i.e., believe that value judgments are purely personal, private expressions of one's own opinion or inner-feelings and not believe that value judgments are knowledge claims capable of being true or false and therefore not expressions of moral requirements and normative imperatives emanating from an external value structure or moral order in the world. In addition, the study revealed that most nurses and nursing students are inconsistent in the philosophical foundations of their ethical decision-making, i.e., in decision-making regarding values they tend to hold beliefs which are incompatible with other beliefs they hold about values.
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