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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Christine Grady, RN, PhD, FAAN (National Institutes of Health)
Description: This is a very valuable collection of actual cases in nursing ethics in which issues in all areas of nursing practice are covered, accompanied by analytic commentary of the issues raised in the cases. The current book is an updated second edition with the updates reflecting advances in the study of ethics in healthcare and nursing as well as new issues that have arisen.
Purpose: The purpose, as described by the authors, is to provide a special collection of actual cases focusing on ethical challenges and problems faced by nurses in practice, for use by nurses and other healthcare providers who want to learn about applied ethics. A wide range of topics are covered, organized in a format that is appropriate for the systematic study of applied ethics.
Audience: The authors seek to provide instruction in basic healthcare ethics while specifically showing how theory is applied to nursing. This is a valuable resource for both students and practitioners of nursing, as well as others who are interested in the unique challenges facing nurses today. The authors are infinitely qualified as both are renowned and well respected professionals in healthcare ethics and both have authored many other publications contributing to the healthcare ethics literature. They have collaborated for many years and each brings a rich perspective to this project.
Features: The authors begin with an introductory section entitled "Four Questions of Ethics." In this section they address the questions such as: What makes right acts right? What kinds of acts are right? How do rules apply to specific situations? And what ought to be done in specific cases? The authors provide an analytic framework for how to think about ethics in nursing and in healthcare. Following this, they address unique aspects of nursing as a profession by discussing both the values inherent to the profession of nursing, and also the sources of moral authority available to nurses in practice. The remainder of the book is divided into two large sections. In one they address specific issues in nursing organized by well-known principles of bioethics such as beneficence, justice, and veracity. In the other they tackle special problem areas in nursing including genetics, consent to treatment, death and dying, and HIV/AIDS care.
Assessment: This book is an updated second edition of a very valuable resource that is unique in the field. Although there are other books in which nursing ethics are addressed, none compares with this one in the richness of and focus on cases, nor in the credibility of the authors As the authors describe, it was important to update the first edition in order to keep up with changes in the field of healthcare ethics. In this regard, the authors have most visibly added a section on HIV/AIDS care, but also have changed the section previously entitled "Avoiding Killing" to one focused on the "Sanctity of Life," and have updated content and cases in many chapters of the book.