An Ethic of Care in Nursing: Past, Present and Future Considerations

Ethics and Social Welfare 5 (3):266-276 (2011)
The purpose of this article is to re-examine an ethic of care as the main ethical approach to nursing practice in light of past and present developments in nursing ethics, and to briefly speculate whether or not it will survive within nursing in the future. Overall, it is maintained throughout that the terms ?caring?, ?nursing? and an ?ethic of care? are inextricably linked. This is because, it is argued, professionally focused nursing practices are based predominantly on a well-recognised moral commitment to deliver expert care, and that a care-based ethic is the major factor in the construction and maintenance of these practices. Subsequently, the influences and developments of a caring ethic in nursing are firstly re-examined, and the discussion is supported by evidence from more recent nursing research and theoretical developments. Consideration is given to the philosophical underpinnings of both care theory and caring ethics, and the fundamental importance of caring in nursing, as an interpersonal relationship and as an appropriate ethical response, is made transparent. Finally, an outline of the future possibilities that may affect an ethic of care in nursing is offered
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DOI 10.1080/17496535.2011.563427
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