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Noddings's caring ethics theory applied in a paediatric setting

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Abstract:

Abstract

Since the 1990s, numerous studies on the relationship between parents and their children have been reported on in the literature and implemented as a philosophy of care in most paediatric units. The purpose of this article is to understand the process of nurses' care for children in a paediatric setting by using Noddings's caring ethics theory. Noddings's theory is in part described from a theoretical perspective outlining the basic idea of the theory followed by a critique of her work. Important conceptions in her theory are natural caring (reception, relation, engrossment, motivational displacement, reciprocity) and ethical caring (physical self, ethical self, and ethical ideal). As a nurse one holds a duty of care to patients and, in exercising this duty, the nurse must be able to develop a relationship with the patient including giving the patient total authenticity in a ‘feeling with’ the patient. Noddings's theory is analysed and described in three examples from the paediatrics. In the first example, the nurse cared for the patient in natural caring while in the second situation, the nurse strived for the ethical caring of the patient. In the third example, the nurse rejected the impulse to care and deliberately turned her back to ethics and abandoned her ethical caring. According to the Noddings's theory, caring for the patient enables the nurse to obtain ethical insights from the specific type of nursing care which forms an important contribution to an overall increase of an ethical consciousness in the nurse.

Keywords: caring ethics; natural caring; nursing; paediatrics; professionalism

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-769X.2008.00391.x

Affiliations: 1: Senior Lecturer, Department of Health Sciences, Division of Nursing, 2: Professor, Medical Ethics, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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