Cut from the right wood: spiritual and ethical pluralism in professional nursing practice

Authors


Bart Cusveller Research Associate, Prof. Dr G.A. Lindeboom Institute, Centre for Medical Ethics, PO Box 224, 6710 BE Ede, The Netherlands.

Abstract

Today, different cultures and contexts of nursing adhere to different codes of ethics. This pluralism may be traced back to differing beliefs about the nature of man and the world, involving different approaches to, and understandings of, spirituality. How significant is this pluralism of beliefs surrounding spirituality for proper nursing practice? I argue that certain introductory nursing textbooks perceive the significance of spirituality for nursing practice as marginal, because of certain assumptions as to what constitutes a proper, or professional, practice. After arguing that such assumptions are problematic, especially from an ethical point of view, I will advance an alternative understanding of professional practice, by drawing upon Alasdair MacIntyre’s work. The aim is to give the spiritual dimension of nursing care its rightful place.

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