Moral Rights and the Ethics of Nursing
Nursing Ethics. 1995 Mar; 2(1): 31-40.
This paper explores the nature of rights, and their implications for the ethics of nursing. A right is seen as an entitlement which is justified on moral and/or legal grounds, and which may take the form of a right of action or a right of recipience, or both; in either case, correlative duties are generally imposed on others. Some of the conflicts which can occur among two or more conflicting rights are examined through three hypothetical scenarios, and approaches to their resolution are suggested. The question of whether nurses, as nurses, possess rights is then considered, and it is suggested that they do not. In conclusion, it is argued that, if rights are to be a helpful concept, they must be carefully defined and analysed, and their relationship to one another, and to duties, must be clarified.
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