Concepts and Cases in Nursing Ethics – Third Edition
  • Publication Date: September 8, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781551117355 / 1551117355
  • 420 pages; 6" x 9"

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Concepts and Cases in Nursing Ethics – Third Edition

  • Publication Date: September 8, 2010
  • ISBN: 9781551117355 / 1551117355
  • 420 pages; 6" x 9"

Concepts and Cases in Nursing Ethics is a case-based exploration of the core principles of health care ethics applied to nursing. The book is a collaboration between philosopher-ethicist Michael Yeo and nurse-ethicist and educators Anne Moorhouse, Pamela Khan, and Patricia Rodney. It thus combines philosophical and ethical analysis with extensive knowledge and experience in nursing and health care.

The book is organized around six main concepts in health care ethics: beneficence, autonomy, truthfulness, confidentiality, justice, and integrity. A chapter is devoted to the elucidation of each of these concepts. In each chapter, historical background and conceptual analysis are supplemented by case studies that exemplify issues and show how the concept applies in health care and nursing practice.

In this new edition, the conceptual analysis throughout has been updated and reworked in view of changes in the health care system. In addition, there is a new chapter specifically devoted to recent developments affecting nursing and other health professions. Previous case studies have been modified and new ones added to address current and emerging issues. Although the text focuses mainly on the social and political situation of nursing, the analysis has relevance also for medicine and the allied health professions, and indeed for anyone working in the health system.


“Nurses in all phases of their career and in all health care settings will welcome this stellar book on nursing ethics in its third edition. It situates nursing in the current context of health care delivery and offers depth in ethical concepts (values, principles, and theories of ethics, including a comparison of theories of justice). It also provides practical guidance about how to understand, discuss, and analyze situations of nursing ethics in practice.

Based upon the premise that nurses need to be critical thinkers and reflect upon their own ethical practice, these editors and authors focus on six key values to provide detailed discussion enhanced by case studies (several based on Canadian cases). These current and highly relevant cases highlight specific implications for nurses and provide guidance for potential best ethical approaches in care. Arguing for flexibility in use of models for ethical decision-making, the authors emphasize the need to know the person in care and seek to understand the person’s situation.” — Janet Storch, Professor Emeritus, School of Nursing, University of Victoria

Concepts and Cases in Nursing Ethics is an accomplished and masterful text. Each chapter is cogent and logically arranged. The case studies and study questions are relevant, thoughtful, and useful. The authors show considerable insight into a wide range of concepts and questions in contemporary nursing ethics. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this text and I can recommend it to all nurses.” — Alan Armstrong, University of Central Lancashire


Introduction (Michael Yeo)

What is Nursing Ethics?
Nursing Ethics and Bioethics
Nursing Ethics and Nursing
Models of the Nurse-Patient Relationship
A Knowledge Base in Ethics for Nursing
Ethical Analysis and the Nursing Process
Strategies for Case-Based Teaching and Learning

1 A Primer in Ethical Theory (Michael Yeo)

Morality and the Sense of “Oughtness”
Ethical Analysis
Accountability and Morally Principled Decisions
Ethical Theory
Theories about Morality
Ethical Theories

2 Contemporary Canadian Challenges in Nursing Ethics
(Anne Moorhouse and Patricia Rodney)

The Lived Experiences of Nurses Today
Some Historical Background
Health Care Reform Responses
Vulnerabilities of the Nursing Profession
Strengths of the Nursing Profession
Toward Stronger Nursing Voices

3 Beneficence (Michael Yeo and Anne Moorhouse)

Beneficence and Benefiting Others
Beneficence, Self-Concern, and Duty
Problems Determining What Is Beneficial
The Beneficiary of Beneficence

  • Case 1: Pediatric Ethics and Vulnerable Persons (Anne Moorhouse)
    Case 2: “Don’t Treat Me Like a Baby, Leave Me with Some Dignity!” (Anne Moorhouse)
    Case 3: The Good of One and the Good of Many (Anne Moorhouse)

Study Questions

4 Autonomy (Anne Moorhouse, Michael Yeo, and Patricia Rodney)

The Nature of Autonomy
Autonomy, Advocacy, and Empowerment
Autonomy and the Process of Informed Consent
Competence and Capacity to Decide
Substitute Decision-Making
Limiting Autonomy: Paternalism, Protection of Third Parties, and Justice
End of Life Decisions
The Challenges of Autonomy

  • Case 1: Advocating on Behalf of Vulnerable or Voiceless Patients (Anne Moorhouse)
    Case 2: Autonomy in the Research Context (Anne Moorhouse)
    Case 3: End of Life Decisions (Anne Moorhouse)

Study Questions

5 Truthfulness (Michael Yeo and Pamela Khan)

Truthfulness and Truth-Telling in Health Care
Arguments For and Against Truthfulness in Health Care
Truth, Truthfulness, and Untruthfulness
Dialogue and Beneficent Truth-Telling
Truthfulness and the Predicament of Nursing

  • Case 1: Deciding When to Disclose a Diagnosis (Pamela Khan and Anne Moorhouse)
    Case 2: Withholding Information at the Family’s Request (Pamela Khan and Anne Moorhouse)
    Case 3: Emergency and Trauma Nurses: When to Give Bad News (Pamela Khan and Anne Moorhouse)

Study Questions

6 Confidentiality (Michael Yeo and Anne Moorhouse)

Health Professionals, Persons, and the Personal
Privacy and Confidentiality
Breaches of Confidentiality
Exceptions to the Rule of Confidentiality
Confidentiality in the Age of Information Technology

  • Case 1: Confidentiality in the Workplace (Michael Yeo and Anne Moorhouse)
    Case 2: Confidentiality in a Family Context (Michael Yeo and Anne Moorhouse)
    Case 3: Confidentiality and Seemingly Innocuous Information (Michael Yeo and Anne Moorhouse)
    Case 4: Privacy Issues in the Emergency Department (Anne Moorhouse)

Study Questions

7 Justice (Michael Yeo, Patricia Rodney, Anne Moorhouse, and Pamela Khan)

Justice in the Distribution of Health Resources
Theories of Justice
Tensions among Theoretical Orientations
Substantive Principles of Justice
Procedural Principles of Justice
Resource Allocation and Decision-Making

  • Case 1: Access to Care versus Quality of Care (Anne Moorhouse and Pamela Khan)
    Case 2: Allocation of Clinical Placements and Support for Clinical Education (Anne Moorhouse, Michael Yeo, and Pamela Khan)
    Case 3: Equitable Allocation of Nursing Time and Care (Michael Yeo, Anne Moorhouse, and Pamela Khan)
    Case 4: Triage and Rationing of Intensive-Care Beds during a Clinical Crisis (Anne Moorhouse and Pamela Khan)

Study Questions

8 Integrity (Michael Yeo, Patricia Rodney, Pamela Khan, and Anne Moorhouse)

Integrity Defined
Personal and Professional Integrity
Integrity and Multiple Obligations
Integrity and Moral Distress
From Conflict to Co-operation and a Moral Community

  • Case 1: Integrity and Nurses’ Relationships with Colleagues and Employers (Anne Moorhouse and Pamela Khan)
    Case 2: Conscience and Assignment Refusal (Anne Moorhouse and Pamela Khan)
    Case 3: Preserving Integrity (Anne Moorhouse and Pamela Khan)

Study Questions

Appendix A. An Ethical Decision-Making Framework for Individuals (2009) (Michael McDonald, P. Rodney, and R. Starzomski)
Appendix B. Ethical/Stakeholder Analysis (RESPECT) (Michael Yeo)
About the Authors

Michael Yeo is an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at Laurentian University.

Anne Moorhouse is a Professor in the Seneca-York Collaborative BScN Nursing Program, Toronto, and teaches bioethics at Ryerson University.

Pamela Khan is a Senior Lecturer at the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing at the University of Toronto.

Patricia Rodney is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia.