Journal of Professional Nursing

Uncovering the Ethic of Care

Belinda Hodge, RCompN, Dip.Grad(Bioethics), Lecturer, Nursing & Midwifery Department, Otago Polytechnic, Dunedin

Reference:  Hodge, B. (1993). Uncovering the Ethic of Care. Nursing Praxis in New Zealand, 8(2), 13-22.


This paper will explore some of the issues which have arisen while listening to and talking to nurses about their caring practices, and the ethical dilemmas they face.  It is generally held that ‘dare’ is the primary focus for nursing.  If this is to be accepted, nurses need to begin to question the role of traditional bioethical principles in helping them articulate and resolve such dilemmas.  The exemplars presented in this paper come from student nurses and clinicians and are typical of the concerns and frustrations that nurses everywhere face in their day-to-day nursing practice.  The following discussion may well generate more questions than it does answers – questions I believe, nurses need to be asking themselves at this time.

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