The Ethic of Care: a moral compass for Canadian nursing practice


Author(s): Kathleen Stephany and Piotr Majkowski

Pp: 34-57 (24)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805304911201010034

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Key aspects of the role of the Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) are presented as well as the purpose of the CNA Code of Ethics for Registered Nurses (RNs). Nurses are made aware that the ethical values and responsibilities as laid out in the CNA Code of Ethics are not discretionary but must be followed by all practicing nurses. Each value is discussed in terms of how they are played out in actual practice and narratives are used to emphasize important points. The role of Canadian law is explained because nurses who have a working knowledge of the Canadian legal system are better equipped to deal with legal issues that may arise, especially in trying situations. A brief overview of The Canadian Constitution and The Charter of Rights and Freedoms is also undertaken for similar reasons. Nurses are informed that although some laws are derived from ethics this is not necessarily consistently the case and the law always supersedes ethics. The commonalities between the ethic of care and the CNA Code of Ethics is presented. Other valid topics that directly relate to the CNA Code Ethics Part I include: the safety of research participants; the duty to report unsafe practice; the importance of ensuring informed consent for treatment, the role of advance directives and safe guarding the confidentiality of all client information. The chapter ends with an actual Coroner’s case where a nurse deliberately covers up a mistake that costs a client their life.

Keywords: Compassion, Canadian Nursing Association, Code of ethics, Accountability, Law, Social justice, Precedent, Canadian Constitution, Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Contract, Democracy, Tort, Research process , Competence, Duty to report, Negligence, Practice standards, Empowerment, Health promotion, Competence, Consent, Advance directives, Confidentiality, Self-disclosure, Discrimination, Distributive justice, Justice

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