Practical Ethical Theory for Nurses Responding to Complexity in Care
Fairchild, Roseanne Moody
Nursing ethics 2010 May ; 17(3): 353-62
In the context of health care system complexity, nurses need responsive leadership and organizational support to maintain intrinsic motivation, moral sensitivity and a caring stance in the delivery of patient care. The current complexity of nurses' work environment promotes decreases in work motivation and moral satisfaction, thus creating motivational and ethical dissonance in practice. These and other work-related factors increase emotional stress and burnout for nurses, prompting both new and seasoned nurse professionals to leave their current position, or even the profession. This article presents a theoretical conceptual model for professional nurses to review and make sense of the ethical reasoning skills needed to maintain a caring stance in relation to the competing values that must coexist among nurses, health care administrators, patients and families in the context of the complex health care work environments in which nurses are expected to practice. A model, Nurses' Ethical Reasoning Skills, is presented as a framework for nurses' thinking through and problem solving ethical issues in clinical practice in the context of complexity in health care.
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