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Nursing Considered as Moral Practice: A Philosophical-Ethical Interpretation of Nursing

Discussions of ethical approaches in nursing have been much enlivened in recent years, for instance by new developments in the theory of care. Nevertheless, many ethical concepts in nursing still need to be clarified. The purpose of this contribution is to develop a fundamental ethical view on nursing care considered as moral practice. Three main components are analyzed more deeply--i.e., the caring relationship, caring behavior as the integration of virtue and expert activity, and "good care" as the ultimate goal of nursing practice. For the development of this philosophical-ethical interpretation of nursing, we have mainly drawn on the pioneering work of Anne Bishop and John Scudder, Alasdair MacIntyre, Lawrence Blum, and Louis Janssens. We will also show that the European philosophical background offers some original ideas for this endeavor.

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