Bioethics: A Nursing Perspective

Bioethics: A Nursing Perspective

Bioethics: A Nursing Perspective

Bioethics: A Nursing Perspective

Synopsis

This classic work has been instrumental in establishing nursing ethics as a legitimate and discrete field of inquiry and practice. BIOETHICS, A NURSING PERSPECTIVE, 3RD EDITION provides nurses with a text that covers the history and nature of mainstream bioethics and its relationship to nursing. It also stimulates critical thinking on bioethical issues as these relate to the real world of the practising nurse.

Excerpt

The nursing profession worldwide has a rich and distinctive history of identifying and responding substantively to ethical issues in nursing and health care domains. Since the inception of modern nursing in the last century, nurses globally have taken seriously their moral responsibilities as health care practitioners; they have also taken seriously the issues which have emerged as a consequence of their attempts to fulfil these responsibilities effectively (Johnstone 1993; Winslow and Winslow 1991). As the nursing literature dating as far back as Florence Nightingale's (1970) foundational text Notes on nursing demonstrates, the early modern nursing profession was as much concerned with the ethical dimensions of promoting the wellbeing and welfare of people requiring and or receiving nursing and health care as it is today. Further evidence of this can be found in the impressive chronology of nursing literature published on the subject over the past century. As Jameton (1984, p. 36) observes, since 1900 'no decade has passed ... without publication of at least one basic text in nursing ethics' with one of the first discrete texts on nursing ethics being published as early as 1888. Notable among some of the earliest nursing ethics texts are: Luckes' (1888) Hospital sisters and their duties, Dock's (1900) Short papers on nursing subjects, Parson's (1916) Nursing problems and obligations, Hampton Robb's (1903) Nursing ethics: for hospital and private use, Aikens' (1916) Studies in ethics for nurses (revised five times and still available in 1943), Gladwin's (1930) Ethics talks to nurses, and Densford and Everett's (1947) Ethics for modern nurses: professional adjustments. The plethora of nursing journal articles and public addresses published on the subject at the turn of this century (see Birnbach and Lewenson 1991, pp. 197-240), and the now vast body of 'new' nursing ethics literature published over the past twenty years, expands this volume of distinctive nursing ethics literature even further.

While it is conceded that some of the earliest discourses on nursing ethics and its practice might seem quaint by today's standards, it is important to note that others remain remarkably insightful, forthright, and visionary as examples to be given in this and subsequent chapters will show. Either way, it is important to treat these works in a way that reflects adequately their historical and cultural locations, and which does not undermine either the importance or significance of their moral intent even where their contents may be judged as 'lacking' by today's standards (a retrospective judgment that could, of course, be made of many other fields besides nursing ethics).

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