The Ethics of the Caring Conversation
Nursing Ethics 2003 March; 10(2): 138-148
The aim of this study was to explore the ethical foundations for a caring The analysis is based on the ethics of Paul Ricoeur and deals with questions such as what kind of person the nurse ought to be and how she or he engages in caring conversations with suffering others. According to Ricoeur, ethics (the aim of an accomplished life) has primacy over morality (the articulation of aims in norms). At the ethical level, self-esteem and autonomy were shown to be essential for a person (nurse) to act with respect and responsibility. The ethical relationship of a caring conversation was found to metrical, because of the passivity inflicted by suffering. This asymmetry was found to be potentially unethical if not balanced with reciprocity. In the ethical context, the caring conversation is one in which the nurse makes room through the ethos of caritas for a suffering person to regain his or her self-esteem, and thus makes a good life possible.
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