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The ethical dimensions of the nursing profession

Orb, M. Angelica (1993) The ethical dimensions of the nursing profession. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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This dissertation examines the professional and moral responsibilities of nurses, particularly the relevance of the ethical concepts of autonomy, clients' and nurses' rights. Also, it explores the meaning of a "profession”. Moral issues involved in the nurse/client relationship are discussed, highlighting the importance of respect for persons, responsibility, accountability and advocacy. Special attention is paid to the commitment to healing.

The methodology used in this enquiry is conceptual analysis which involves the identification of the ethical issues that needed to be examined, followed by the formulation of the theses that guide this enquiry. The data were obtained from relevant documents and literature available in the areas of philosophy, sociology, law and nursing ethics. Arguments in support of the moral and professional autonomy of nurses as responsible professionals are developed.

The findings of this enquiry assert that the ethical responsibilities of nurses are consistent with their professional mandate. It shows that the commitment to healing and the relationship with clients and their relatives, have a direct bearing on the welfare of clients and the quality of care delivered.

It establishes that nurses as members of the health team, collaborate with others. However, some difficulties are identified between nurses and other health professionals, related to the different values held by them. These difficulties are often reinforced by institutional organizational structures and policies.

Changes in the nurses' educational system and the development of nursing research is generating a specific body of knowledge that give nursing a distinct mark as a profession.

This enquiry is a contribution to the ethical awareness of the professional responsibilities of nurses towards society and the professional autonomy appropriate to them.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Education
Notes: Note to the author: If you would like to make your thesis openly available on Murdoch University Library's Research Repository, please contact: Thank you.
Supervisor(s): Hill, Brian
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