Access

You are not currently logged in.

Access your personal account or get JSTOR access through your library or other institution:

login

Log in to your personal account or through your institution.

If You Use a Screen Reader

This content is available through Read Online (Free) program, which relies on page scans. Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.

Ethical Theory, Ethnography, and Differences between Doctors and Nurses in Approaches to Patient Care

David W. Robertson
Journal of Medical Ethics
Vol. 22, No. 5 (Oct., 1996), pp. 292-299
Published by: BMJ
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/27717814
Page Count: 8
  • Read Online (Free)
  • Cite this Item
Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Ethical Theory, Ethnography, and Differences between Doctors and Nurses in Approaches to Patient Care
Preview not available

Abstract

Objectives—To study empirically whether ethical theory (from the mainstream principles-based, virtue-based, and feminist schools) usefully describes the approaches doctors and nurses take in everyday patient care. Design—Ethnographic methods: participant observation and interviews, the transcripts of which were analysed to identify themes in ethical approaches. Setting—A British old-age psychiatry ward. Participants—The more than 20 doctors and nurses on the ward. Results—Doctors and nurses on the ward differed in their conceptions of the principles of beneficence and respect for patient autonomy. Nurses shared with doctors a commitment to liberal and utilitarian conceptions of these principles, but also placed much greater weight on relationships and character virtues when expressing the same principles. Nurses also emphasised patient autonomy, while doctors were more likely to adovate beneficence, when the two principles conflicted. Conclusion—The study indicates that ethical theory can, contrary to the charges of certain critics, be relevant to everyday health care – if it (a) attends to social context and (b) is flexible enough to draw on various schools of theory.

Page Thumbnails

  • Thumbnail: Page 
[292]
    [292]
  • Thumbnail: Page 
293
    293
  • Thumbnail: Page 
294
    294
  • Thumbnail: Page 
295
    295
  • Thumbnail: Page 
296
    296
  • Thumbnail: Page 
297
    297
  • Thumbnail: Page 
298
    298
  • Thumbnail: Page 
299
    299