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The values of nursing arise from a concern with human flourishing. If the desire to become a nurse is a reflection of an aspiration to care for others in need then we should anticipate that those who choose to nurse have a tendency towards the values we would normally associate with a caring profession (care, compassion, perhaps altruism, and so on). However, these values require a secure base if they are not to succumb to the corrupting pressures of the increasingly instrumental nature of the values of the institutions in which healthcare in general and nursing in particular takes place. One way of securing a base for withstanding the corrupting influences of the institution is to understand nursing as a practice in the sense in which Alasdair MacIntyre uses that term. In this brief paper I will outline ways in which the managerial imperative of meeting targets is both distorting practice and undermining nursing's values. I conclude that understanding nursing as a MacIntyrean practice provides a refuge from what might otherwise be overwhelming pressures for nurses to adopt instrumental values to the detriment of professional caring values.
Institute for Philosophical Nursing Research, University of Alberta, 3rd Floor Clincal Sciences Building, Edmonton, Alberta, T6G 2G3, Canada, firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: Medicine, health care, and philosophy
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The complete summaries of the frequencies of the values or categories of a measurement made on a group of items, a population, or other collection of data. The distribution tells either how many or what proportion of the group was found to have each value (or each range of values) out of all the possible values that the quantitative measure can have.
Professional society representing the field of nursing.
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