Honors College Thesis

 

Nursing Ethics Across the Lifespan: The Past and Present Role of the Nurse in Relation to Patients and Physicians Public

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  • Nurses are known to have “big hearts,” but in order to fully understand their own thoughts and actions in practice, nurses need to develop their minds. Nursing ethics deserves recognition because all nurses need an understanding of ethical concepts in order to recognize ethical issues and dilemmas. The ideal ways of acting in nursing should be universal so that care for patients is consistently exemplary. Nurses need to learn to support their beliefs and ideas with sound reasoning to understand, relieve, or prevent their own moral distress. This paper briefly examines the history of nursing and nursing ethics, the dynamics of the nurse-physician relationship historically and in the modern era, the shift of the nurse from a helper into an autonomous professional within the healthcare system, and exploration of the role of the nurse as an “advocate.” The ethical theories and approaches used were virtue ethics, deontological ethics, utilitarian ethics, the principlism approach, and the ethic of care approach. Case studies were then used to highlight the nurse-patient relationship, the nurse-physician relationship, and the lessons that could be drawn for to help the nurse in practice.
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