Achieving Moral Health Care: The Challenge of Patient Partiality
Nursing Ethics. 1999 Sep; 6(5): 390-398.
Illness and hospitalization are sources of vulnerability; they arguably endow nurses and midwives with the moral obligation to develop caring relationships with patients. Fairness and the equal treatment of patients are central to moral practice; current government publications are giving this political emphasis. This article argues that patient partiality is one factor that may result in insidiously unequal caregiving. Data generated during a qualitative study into professional caring suggest that patient partiality is an accepted part of everyday practice. Factors such as the patient's personality, nurse-patient familiarity and the perceived level of patients' understanding and interest in their illness emerged as possible sources of partiality and influence on practitioners' interactions with patients. The article argues that patient partiality can be managed morally if practitioners develop self-awareness and constantly reflect on the moral integrity of everyday practice. Throughout the article, unless it is stated that specific reference is being made to either nurses or midwives, reference to a nurse or practitioner denotes both. It is also emphasized that no implication is intended that any study participants provided unequal care. Rather, data are utilized solely to generate focused discussion around the concept of patient partiality.
Caring; Communication; Discrimination; Emotions; Government; Health; Health Care; Illness; Justice; Moral Obligations; Midwives; Nurse Midwives; Nurse Patient Relationship; Nurses; Nursing Research; Patient Care; Patient Compliance; Patients; Qualitative Research; Quality of Health Care; Research; Social Discrimination; Social Interaction; Socioeconomic Factors; Stigmatization; Survey;
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