Nursing Ethics A Virtue-Based Approach

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2007-05-15
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
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Reacting against the dominance of obligation-based moral theories in both general and nursing ethics, the author proposes a 'strong' (action-guiding) account of a virtue-based approach to moral decision-making within contemporary nursing practice. Merits and criticisms of obligation and virtue-based approaches to morality are identified and examined. One of the author's central premises is that the notions of moral goodness and badness carry more moral weight than the traditionally important notions of moral rightness and wrongness. Therefore, the author argues that in order to deliver morally good care, it is vital to consider the kind of nurse one is and this means examining one's moral character. This book will be rewarding reading for a wide range of readers including clinical nurses, nurse educators and nurse ethicists; indeed, anyone interested in morality and ethics and the work of nurses will find this book stimulating reading.

Author Biography

ALAN E. ARMSTRONG is Senior Lecturer in Nursing at the University of Central Lancashire.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgementsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Broad aim of the bookp. 1
Plan of the bookp. 1
Illness, Narratives and the Value of the Nurse-Patient Relationshipp. 4
Introductionp. 4
Illness and narrativesp. 4
Hospitalization and patients' emotionsp. 6
A brief history of the nurse-patient relationshipp. 9
The nurse-patient relationship in contemporary nursing and the notion of empowermentp. 10
Therapeutic nurse-patient relationshipsp. 13
The role of the nursep. 16
Barker, Jackson and Stevenson on the essential feature of mental health nursingp. 19
Defining a 'good' nursep. 22
Conclusionsp. 24
The Virtues in General Ethicsp. 26
Introductionp. 26
On 'faring well'p. 26
The virtues in the history of philosophyp. 27
What is a virtue?p. 28
Assumptions about virtues and goodnessp. 30
Virtues or vices?p. 31
Is it possible to provide a complete list of virtues?p. 31
What might determine important virtues?p. 32
What is a virtue? Revisitedp. 34
Why should the virtues be valued?p. 35
Advantages of the virtue-based approach to moralityp. 37
Problems with the virtuesp. 38
Conclusionsp. 39
A Critique of Obligation-Based Moral Theories in General Ethicsp. 40
Introductionp. 40
Characterizing obligation-based moral theoriesp. 40
Consequentialismp. 41
Objections to act-consequentialismp. 44
Problems with utilitarianismp. 48
Merits of consequentialismp. 57
Rule-consequentialismp. 58
Consequentialism - conclusionsp. 59
Deontologyp. 60
Contemporary deontologyp. 60
Deontological constraintsp. 63
Intention and foresight in deontologyp. 65
Problems with deontologyp. 68
Deontology and intuitions: A responsep. 74
Deontology: Conclusionsp. 75
Conclusionsp. 75
The Origins, Development and Tenets of Virtue Ethicsp. 77
Introductionp. 77
The origins and development of virtue ethicsp. 77
The central tenets of virtue ethicsp. 78
Virtue ethics: Nomenclaturep. 79
Supplementary virtue ethicsp. 79
Strong virtue ethicsp. 82
Aristotle's virtue ethicsp. 83
Objections to Aristotle's ethicsp. 88
Virtue ethics and moral characterp. 91
Conclusionsp. 94
Common Objections to Virtue Ethicsp. 95
Introductionp. 95
Conclusionsp. 108
A Critical Account of Obligation-Based Moral Theories in Nursing Practicep. 109
Introductionp. 109
Why are obligation-based moral theories popular in nursing?p. 109
Examples of the deontic approach to moral decision-making in the nursing literaturep. 110
Moral decision-making toolsp. 114
The four principles approach to biomedical ethicsp. 115
Criticisms of obligation-based moral theories in nursingp. 120
Conclusionsp. 122
Virtue-Based Moral Decision-Making in Nursing Practicep. 125
Introductionp. 125
Judgement and moral wisdomp. 126
The virtue-based helping relationshipp. 134
The virtue-based approach to moral decision-making in nursing practicep. 141
Merits of the virtue-based approach to moral decision-making in nursing practicep. 144
Criticisms of the virtue-based approach to moral decision-making in nursing practicep. 148
Conclusionsp. 155
MacIntyre's Account of the Virtuesp. 157
Introductionp. 157
Criticisms of MacIntyre's thesisp. 167
Conclusionsp. 178
MacIntyre's Account of the Virtues and the Virtue-Based Approach to Moral Decision-Making in Nursing Practicep. 180
Introductionp. 180
Nursing practice, narratives and moralityp. 180
Nursing as a practice: Its internal goods and the virtuesp. 182
The virtue-based approach as a tradition of enquiryp. 186
Conclusionsp. 186
Conclusionsp. 187
Introductionp. 187
Criticisms of the virtue-based approach to moral decision-making in nursing practicep. 191
Areas for further research and enquiryp. 194
Merits of the virtue-based approach to moral decision-making in nursing practicep. 195
Teaching the virtuesp. 197
Conclusionsp. 199
Notesp. 201
Bibliographyp. 224
Indexp. 233
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