The Human Condition of the Professional: Discretion and Accountability
Nursing Ethics. 1997 Nov; 4(6): 519-526.
This article takes issue with procedural reductionism, which is the inclination to reduce all matters of judgement and responsibility to the following of some procedure or rule. Two scenarios provide content for a discussion of professional discretion in the context of accountability. The author shows that in professional life there will always be situations that stand beyond the rules of procedures and require the unique judgement of the professional at the time. While this judgement may be determined by the facts available in a situation of uncertainty, it cannot be reduced to the facts (including facts about rules and procedures). The moral judgement will still have an essential indeterminancy about it.
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