Courage and nursing practice: A theoretical analysis


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Abstract

This article aims to deepen the understanding of courage through a theoretical analysis of classical philosophers' work and a review of published and unpublished empirical research on courage in nursing. The authors sought answers to questions regarding how courage is understood from a philosophical viewpoint and how it is expressed in nursing actions. Four aspects were identified as relevant to a deeper understanding of courage in nursing practice: courage as an ontological concept, a moral virtue, a property of an ethical act, and a creative capacity. The literature review shed light on the complexity of the concept of courage and revealed some lack of clarity in its use. Consequently, if courage is to be used consciously to influence nurses' ethical actions it seems important to recognize its specific features. The results suggest it is imperative to foster courage among nurses and student nurses to prepare them for ethical, creative action and further the development of professional nursing practices.

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