Author: Kathleen Stephany

The Ethic of Care: A Moral Compass for Canadian Nursing Practice

eBook: US $59 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $198
Printed Copy: US $168
Library License: US $236
ISBN: 978-1-60805-394-0 (Print)
ISBN: 978-1-60805-304-9 (Online)
Year of Publication: 2012
DOI: 10.2174/97816080530491120101


The Ethic of Care: A Moral Compass for Canadian Nursing Practice is unique from other nursing ethics textbooks in several key ways. The book adds a heightened dimension to the already rich knowledge in the field of applied nursing ethics and the ethic of care. The author argues that the ethic of care, or the moral imperative to act justly, be the guiding compass for everything that nurses do. It is with passion and conviction that nurses are encouraged to embody the ethic of care as a "lived virtue." Nurses are also inspired to be the leaders of tomorrow by working toward achieving accountability and sustainability in the Canadian publicly funded health care system and by effectively addressing social inequities. At the end of each chapter the author conveys real life case studies, as derived from her experiences as a critical care nurse, psychiatric nurse clinician and former Coroner. These vignettes bring the subject to life and serve as a means for applying newly acquired ethical knowledge.


Nursing ethics is often seen as taking a back seat to the more technical, psychomotor skills of nursing. When nurses do learn about ethics, it’s often in a context that teaches us to be kind angels that are there to heal the sins of the world. Indeed, new nurses tend to emerge from nursing school with the concepts of discipline and respect ringing in their ears. Too often, nurses aren’t taught the true nature of nursing. Instead, nurses graduate knowing to fear their managers, pour their sweat and tears into the systems in which they work, and never complain.

The very call of the profession is to be a united, coordinated and strong voice of health. Because Canadian nurses are public servants, numerous, organized, and with a broad body of health knowledge, Canadian nurses are uniquely positioned to serve this role. The way Dr. Stephany puts it in her class, nurses should graduate nursing school ready to not only do their day-to-day job, but also to change the world. In a sense, to care enough for the patient, whether it’s a single person or an entire society, to live not only one’s vocational life, but one’s entire life in the path of service to others.

Understanding nursing ethics from a perspective of the Ethic of Care is a strong asset in this regard. While nurses share the objective domains of health with the rest of the healthcare system, their unique ability to provide a firm bridge into the subjective domains is what makes nurses an indispensable component of any healthy society.

Piotr Majkowski, RN, BSN
Nurse Case Manager in Community Mental Health
Vancouver Coastal Health Authority, BC Canada


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