Until recent times many nursing authors have relied on rather narrow interpretations of selected aspects from the broader discourse of ethics and moral philosophy in their writing on ethics in nursing As a consequence, discourse in nursing ethics has been limited in its vision and far from comprehensive in its content This can be seen in the large number of texts and journals which discuss issues in nursing ethics Particularly in many of the nursing textbooks up to and including the 1960s, 1970s and, to a lesser extent, the early 1980s, ethics content is commonly framed in terms of the dilemmas of practice Moreover, overall there is a preoccupation with either deontological or teleological positions and the application of corresponding analytical frameworks consistent with the particular view taken In most texts the preferred view is deontological, with a predominating emphasis on principle and duty Recently in nursing ethics there has been a focus towards the deconstruction of the dominant views in ethics encompassed by the more traditional perspectives Consequently, as in other areas of applied and theoretical ethics, there has been a re-awakening of interest in the ‘virtues’, and in processes which encourage the articulation of ethical dimensions of practice in ways other than applying principles, rules and formulae to situations of clinical dilemma