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


Author(s): Kathleen Stephany and Piotr Majkowski

Pp: 172-185 (14)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805304911201010172

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


The aim of this chapter is to encourage nurses to work with their clients’ religious and spiritual values and not to discriminate when they differ from their own. The desire to believe in God or something beyond the physical is deemed to be universal. Theology, religion and spirituality are integral parts of the search for something more, yet even though they have much in common they are not one and the same. What most religious and spiritual beliefs share is the notion that there is more to life than physical existence. The profession of nursing has a long and enduring history of a close association with spirituality and nursing has often been referred to as a mission or calling. It is argued that religious practices are still valid for present day nursing. The Canadian Nurses Association (CNA) supports this stand and recognizes parish nursing as valid. Religion and spirituality align well with the ethic of care and the emphasis on the relationships between people and all that exists. What is a nurse expected to do when their client does not believe in anything or is an atheist? The rule of thumb is that you must work with your client’s belief system. This directive applies because nurses are mandated by the CNA not to discriminate for any reason. It is also relevant because it is the caring, compassionate approach to what really matters to the client.

Keywords: Religions, Spirituality, Theology, Parish nurses, Atheism

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