What are the limits to the obligations of the nurse?

Journal of Medical Ethics 22 (2):90-94 (1996)
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This paper enquires into the nature and the extent of the obligations of nurses. It is argued that nurses appear to be obliged to undertake supererogatory acts if they take clause one of the United Kingdom Central Council for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Visiting (UKCC) Code of Professional Conduct seriously (as, indeed, they are required to do). In the first part of the paper, the nature of nursing obligations is outlined, and then the groups and individuals to whom nurses have obligations are identified. Following a brief discussion of the moral foundation of the nurse's obligations to her/his employer, a common conflict of obligations is identified. Then a distinction is drawn between ordinary and extraordinary moral standards. Appreciation of this is necessary for an understanding of the criterion of what constitutes a supererogatory act. By the definition of supererogatory acts proposed below, it is suggested that actions such as whistleblowing satisfy that definition



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Author's Profile

Stephen David Edwards
University of Zululand

References found in this work

Principles of biomedical ethics.Tom L. Beauchamp - 1979 - New York: Oxford University Press. Edited by James F. Childress.
Causing Death and Saving Lives.E. Telfer - 1978 - Journal of Medical Ethics 4 (1):47-47.
More on professional ethics.R. Gillon - 1986 - Journal of Medical Ethics 12 (2):59-60.

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