The idea that nurses should be trustworthy seems to be accepted as generally unproblematic. However, being trustworthy as a nurse is complicated because of the diverse range of expectations from patients, relatives, colleagues, managers, peers, professional bodies and the institutions within which nursing takes place. Nurses are often faced with competing demands and an action perceived by some as trustworthy can be seen by others as untrustworthy. In this article some of the reasons for the importance of being trustworthy are (...) offered together with a preliminary discussion about how being a trustworthy nurse is far from straightforward. (shrink)
The values of nursing arise from a concern with human flourishing. If the desire to become a nurse is a reflection of an aspiration to care for others in need then we should anticipate that those who choose to nurse have a tendency towards the values we would normally associate with a caring profession (care, compassion, perhaps altruism, and so on). However, these values require a secure base if they are not to succumb to the corrupting pressures of the increasingly (...) instrumental nature of the values of the institutions in which healthcare in general and nursing in particular takes place. One way of securing a base for withstanding the corrupting influences of the institution is to understand nursing as a practice in the sense in which Alasdair MacIntyre uses that term. In this brief paper I will outline ways in which the managerial imperative of meeting targets is both distorting practice and undermining nursing’s values. I conclude that understanding nursing as a MacIntyrean practice provides a refuge from what might otherwise be overwhelming pressures for nurses to adopt instrumental values to the detriment of professional caring values. (shrink)
Many patients are subject to 'do not resuscitate' orders or are 'allowed to die'. The predominant moral position within health care seems to be that this is permissible, while voluntary euthanasia is not. This paper attempts to consider the logic of that position. It is not intended as a case for or against voluntary euthanasia; those cases are made elsewhere. Instead, this is an attempt to challenge implicit assumptions. It is the experience of many nurses that issues relating to matters (...) at the end of life are far from being resolved. This paper does not try to offer any practical solutions but aims at some clarification of the language used. This, it is hoped, will enable nurses to contribute to the debate. (shrink)
This book presents an exploration of concepts central to health care practice. In exploring such concepts as Subjectivity, Life, Personhood, and Death in deep philosophical terms, the book aims to draw out the ethical demands that arise when we encounter these phenomena, and also the moral resources of health care workers for meeting those demands. The series Values in Bioethics makes available original philosophical books in all areas of bioethics, including medical and nursing ethics, health care ethics, research ethics, environmental (...) ethics, and global bioethics. (shrink)
The following two letters were received in response to David Skidmore's article, 'Can nursing survive? A view through the keyhole', which was published in the December 1994 issue of Nursing Ethics.David Skidmore has been asked to reply; his comments follow. Both his and Janet Duberley's letters have been shortened with their consent.
It is not unusual for the adjective ‘vulnerable’ to be applied to those in receipt of nursing practice without making clear what it is that persons thus described are actually vulnerable to. In this paper I argue that the way nursing has adopted the idea of vulnerability tends to imply that some people are in some way invulnerable. This is conceptually unsustainable and renders the idea of the vulnerable patient meaningless. The paper explores the meaning of vulnerability both in general (...) terms and in the context of nursing practice. It is argued that to be in receipt of nursing is to become, to a greater or lesser extent, more‐than‐ordinary vulnerable. Thus all patients are more‐than‐ordinarily vulnerable and this restricts their potential to flourish. Nurses are well placed to contribute to the flourishing of more‐than‐ordinarily vulnerable persons and my substantive claim is that this ‘protective’ function is indeed a legitimate and fundamental part of the role of nurses. (shrink)