Natural sociology and moral questions in nursing: can there be a relationship?


  • Martin Johnson RGN RMN RNT MSc

    Corresponding author
    1. Principal Lecturer in Nursing and Course Leader, School of Human and Health Sciences, Huddersfield Polytechnic, Queensgate, Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, England
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Mr M Johnson 45 Hanok Green Road, Marple, Stockport SK6 7HR, Greater Manchester England


This paper argues that the current sources of material for the debate of moral questions in health care in general and nursing in particular, are inadequate The current bases of nursing's knowledge and values are explored, and the conclusion drawn that reliance upon theory developed by other disciplines has led to theories which are wholly inappropriate to explain either how nursing is practised or even how it ought to be A case is made that naturalistic sociological methods such as participant observation have the greatest possibilities to describe and explain moral conduct in nursing Further, these methods can produce a view of reality more consistent with the experiences and feelings of the patients or clients and other health workers It would seem that data and theory generated using this perspective could better inform the debates of moral philosophers than the currently dominant sources of their case material, the views of the medical and legal professions