Virtue Ethics and Its Implications for Nursing

Emiko Konishi, Michiko Yahiro, Miki Ono, Maki Tanaka
2008 Journal of Japan Academy of Nursing Science  
Virtue ethics and principle-based ethics are two major approaches in nursing and healthcare ethics. These approaches complement each other by emphasizing different aspects of ethics. Principle-based ethics emphasizes action, and virtue ethics focuses on character and attitudes of the person who performs the action. Virtue ethics, almost pushed aside the dominance of principle-based ethics since the1970s,is regaining attention in the recent international literature. Whereas the nursing
more » ... in Japan reports that virtue ethics is rarely included in the ethics course topics which center around medical issues and principle-based ethics. Perhaps this is because the memory of old virtues, that undermined nursing' s professional development, still lingers in Japanese nursing. This article sheds a new light on virtue ethics and discusses its importance for nursing in Japan. The authors'research findings are used in the discussion to suggest the following:1)It is important to explore nursing' s evolving virtues to meet the society' s expectations of nurses, 2)Practice contexts and nurses' narratives are good materials for teaching and learning virtue ethics in class as well as in practice, 3) Culturally, virtue ethics fits with nurses better than principle based ethics, and 4) Dialogues is essential to the teaching of nursing ethics.
doi:10.5630/jans.28.4_3 fatcat:oi2r444opzc4rkb3dr3js6snhi