Ethical vulnerabilities in nursing history: Conflicting loyalties and the patient as ‘other’


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Abstract

The purpose of this article is to explore enduring ethical vulnerabilities of the nursing profession as illustrated in historical chapters of nursing's past. It describes these events, then explores two ethical vulnerabilities in depth: conflicting loyalties and duties, and relationships with patients as ‘other’. The article concludes with suggestions for more ethical approaches to the other in current nursing practice. The past may be one of the most fruitful sites for examining enduring ethical vulnerabilities of the nursing profession. First of all, professional identity, which includes moral identity, comes in part from knowledge of the nursing profession's past. Second, looking to the past to understand better how events and ideologies have brought vulnerabilities to the fore raises questions about ethical nursing practice today

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