Ethical dimensions of compassion and care

The ethical issues which face nurses, nursing and healthcare today are complex, ever changing and challenging.  The relationships between history and the present, suggest that there are lessons to be learned in today’s caring setting.   ‘Care’ and ‘caring in a compassionate manner’ are timely phrases, yet often nursing and other healthcare staff find themselves caring in a more fiscally orientated setting where a different normative order begins to emerge. Often this normative order changes to perceive what can be tolerated and what cannot.

A potential doctoral student could explore what is accepted in terms of ‘normative’ order and what is not in a specific setting, but may also want to explore how this accepted order may change to less than acceptable care and when this may verge on insidious neglect.   A doctoral student may wish to adopt a qualitative investigation, perhaps using personal interviews with nursing staff in differing areas, possibly utilising an observational method exploring their attitudes to the ethical situations which present in day to day practice.  Findings from this potential study could shed some light on the way in which practitioners need to be mindful of the ethical dilemmas that face them during the everyday healthcare environment and how these might be improved.

Dr Alison O'Donnell