Nurses' collective responsibility and the strike weapon

Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 7 (1):101-112 (1982)

James Muyskens
CUNY Graduate Center
Among the collective as well as individual responsibilities of nurses as professionals is that of maintaining and improving the quality of nursing care. In exchange for monopoly status and professional authority to control nursing practice, the profession is charged with the responsibility of meeting the nursing care needs of the community. If one claims, as I do, that one of the collective responsibilities of nurses is maintenance of high nursing standards, we must examine what action is required of nurses who find themselves in work contexts in which standards and practice are deficient. Specifically, is the strike weapon one that may or even ought to be used? In this essay, answers to the following two questions are advanced: (a) What conditions must obtain for it to be (morally) right for nurses in a particular health care facility to strike? (b) Does their collective responsibility with regard to nursing standards and practice ever entail that a group of nurses has a (moral) duty to strike? The essay concludes with a consideration of how one balances the collective responsibility to maintain and improve the quality of nursing care with an individual nurse's responsibility to her/his own patients. CiteULike Connotea What's this?
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DOI 10.1093/jmp/7.1.101
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