Author: Kathleen Stephany

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

eBook: US $59 Special Offer (PDF + Printed Copy): US $182
Printed Copy: US $153
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.


“We do not live as isolated fragments, completely separate, but as parts of a great, dynamic, mutable whole.” Sharon Salzberg, author of Lovingkindness.

The ethic of care is the moral imperative to act justly. It has been almost thirty years since the ethic of care began to inform moral decision making in nursing. I chose to write about this topic because it is as valid for nursing today as it was at its inception. Nurses are still the ones who spend a great deal of time directly caring for others, not just by administering medications and treatments but also through touching, feeling, sensing and listening to what is said and what remains untold. In the writing of this textbook I have endeavoured to inspire nurses to be as compassionate and integral as they can be, so that they will leave every encounter with another human being, better than when they first arrived.

As a nurse and psychologist, I have sought to bring a slightly different voice to the subject of the ethic of care, one that marries the richness of the wisdom from both professions. The intertwining of the two sources is evident throughout the pages of this book, and made real through the application of scholarly knowledge; the telling of compelling stories of lived experiences; and through the application of what is learned.

I have also approached the ethic of care from the perspective of a nurse educator. My belief is that a good teacher does not merely impart knowledge but stirs up a passionate desire in their students to want to learn. I seek to challenge my students and have them question their preconceived assumptions and beliefs in order to open their eyes and minds to something more. Ultimately, my goal is to motivate the nurses of today and tomorrow to become responsible stewards who will shape the future and make it better, not just for some of us, but for all of us. In this fashion nurses will personify the wise advice of Mahatma Gandhi and, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”

A small editing note is needed. Throughout the writing of this textbook the term client is used more often than patient but both concepts are meant to interchangeably represent client and patient groups.

Kathleen Stephany, RN, BSN, BA, MA, PhD, CCCP, Psychologist
Full-Time Faculty in Health Sciences
Douglas College, BC Canada


.Cultivating Empathy: Inspiring Health Professionals to Communicate More Effectively (Revised Edition).
.Balance in Healthcare.
.Online Health Forums and Services: Benefits, Risks and Perspectives.
.The Ethic of Care: A Moral Compass for Canadian Nursing Practice.