The Praxis of Courage as a Foundation for Care

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To analyze the concept of courage and determine its relevance for the present-day context of nursing.


Using techniques of pragmatic utility, a systematic review of the literature was conducted using 18 articles and books from the nursing literature. Analytical questions were developed to guide the data synthesis.


Despite fear for self and others, courage in nursing is usually presented as ethical-moral “risk-taking” action(s) with the intent to ensure safe patient care.


The concept of courage is germane to nursing and provides a unique aspect of nursing care, not fully incorporated into “care,” “compassion,” or the caring sciences. Apart from its linkage toward a moral ethic, courage is not presently used in nursing theory. We recommend incorporating this traditional concept into nursing theory, research, and practice.

Clinical Relevance:

Developing courage in novice professionals and stre-ngthening courage in practitioners can not only improve professional integrity, but also improve patient safety.

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