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Updated on July 30, 2014

Defining Care

What is caring? It is being compassionate, having concern and empathy for others, feeling it as well as exhibiting it. The theory of ethics of care has evolved since its first conceptualization. It is given that strangers will not receive the same level of care as those to who is felt a personal responsibility. In a relationship in which care is provided, there are different levels of emotional involvement for the concerned individuals.

The Care Ethics Theory

The care ethics theory differentiates from obligation-based ethics and relationship-based ethics. For the former, determination is set on the obligation required of the person required to provide the care, say in his case the nurse, and hence the resultant action to be taken is determined. Of contrasting nature, for the latter, the relationship between the constituent parties is the starting point.

Nursing and the Care Ethics Theory

The ethic of care involves developing a habit of care. The ethics of care is a moral orientation from which nursing care action emancipates. Care is a necessary perspective for moral sensitivity and moral responses. Measures that nurses take to care for patients affect their physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being. The care ethics theory requires a lot from nurses and goes a long way in enhancing their performance. Provision of care is in sense a humanitarian science.

How Nurses should Care for Patients

It is required for nurses to take care of the physical needs of patients. In actual sense ensuring that the doctor’s orders in medication taking by the patient are followed is the nurses’ top priority. They provide round-the-clock presence, observation skills and vigilance hence allowing for doctors to make better diagnosis and provide better treatment.

They are required to be teachers, as per se, to the patients in their care. This is for the patient’s family too. They are meant to provide direction during and after the patient’s hospital stay to ensure instruction required to be followed for the patients full recovery are understood.

Relationship between Nurses, Patients and Doctors

The nurses are the buffer between the patient and the doctor. Spending more time with the patient, the patient feels closer to the nurse than to the doctor hence opening up to the nurse is easier. This is so because the patient is more comfortable around the nurse. It’s a common occurrence for patients placing their trust in nurses. They then ask questions to the nurse that they’d feel uncomfortable asking the doctor. It is therefore up to the nurse to provide this atmosphere for the patient to gain confidence in the nurse.

Nurses also have a crucial role to play with the patients’ families. By this care ethics theory, they provide support, especially emotional, to them-be it the ear to listen or shoulder to cry on. They help the families cope and deal with illness.

Nursing-a Higher Calling

Care for patients is the responsibility of nurses. Good care should help the patient be as independent and safe as can be. Services to them should be at optimum and as humane as possible. They are required to be at the best of standards possible. It is not only required personally as a moral obligation, but is inscribed in all codes of conduct signed by nurses in the world over.

When making the choice to be a nurse, one is taking up this obligation and making a moral commitment to care for all patients. Such a decision should not be taken lightly. For those who have taken this path, the care ethics theory has enabled them live up to the expected measure.


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