Silent values : contextualising justice within the disjunctures between care discourses, regulatory requirements and nursing practice realities

The notion of 'Care' has occupied a central place as foundation in nursing theory, ethics and practice. An examination of critical and authoritative documents reveals that the term is vague and ill defined. The literature on care does not theorise the concept as fully as expected in a profession where the concept is considered central. Moreover, even the best theories of care neglect justice. Applying Wittgenstein's concept of family resemblance allows the debate to move on from definitional issues to assess the applicability of 'care' to the practice of the profession. An examination of a range of assessments of nursing practice shows that although 'care' is frequently used in connection with nursing, it does not appear to be a major consideration in key areas of appraisal. This thesis explores the relationship between care and justice in nursing and proposes that they be integrated within nursing theory. A theory for nursing that does not exclude care, but that has justice as its basis is proposed. Care, when used in the context of justice provides nursing with a theory that is appropriate not only for nursing theory and ethics but also assists the profession meet the demands of modern practice
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