A comprehensive picture of ethical values in caring encounters, based on experiences of those involved : Analysis of concepts developed from empirical studies
Abstract: Older people should have a life with a sense of value and should feel confident. These ethical values, which are expressed in normative ethics, are expected to prevail in empirical ethics. Central components of nursing are the ethical issues of autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence and the principles of justice. The general aim of this thesis is to identify and describe the ethical values that are apparent in the caring encounter and their influence on the people involved. This is done from the perspective of the older person in study (I), next of kin in study (II) and nurses in study (III). In study (IV) the aim was to synthesize the concepts from empirical studies (I- III) and analyze, compare and interrelate them with normative ethics. Studies (I, III) were empirical observational studies including follow-up interviews. Twenty-two older people participated voluntarily in study (I), and in study (III) 20 nurses participated voluntarily. In study (II) fourteen next of kin were interviewed. In studies (I- III) constant comparative analysis, the core foundation of grounded theory, was used. Five concepts were used in the analysis in study (IV); three from the grounded theory studies (I- III) and two from the theoretical framework on normative ethics i.e. the ICN code and SFS law. Five categories; being addressed, receiving respect, desiring to participate, increasing self-determination and gaining self-confidence formed the basis for the core category ‚Approaching‛ in study (I). ‘Approaching’ indicates the ethical values that guide nurses in their caring encounters with older people. These ethical values are noted by the older people and are greatly appreciated by them, and also lead to improved quality of care. Four categories were identified in study (II): Receiving, showing respect, facilitating participation and showing professionalism. These categories formed the basis of the core category ‚Being amenable‛, a concept identified in the next of kin’s description of the ethical values that they and the older patients perceive in the caring encounter. In study (III), three categories were identified: showing consideration, connecting, and caring for. These categories formed the basis of the core category ‚Corroborating‛. Corroborating deals with support and interaction. Empirical ethics and normative ethics are intertwined, according to the findings of this study (IV). Normative ethics influence the nurse’s practical performance and could have a greater influence in supporting nurses as professionals. Criteria of good ethical care according to this thesis are: showing respect, invitation to participation, allowing self-determination, and providing safe and secure care. These criteria are elements of the concept of being professional. Professionalism of nurses is shown by: the approach nurses adapt to the performance of their duties, and their competence and knowledge, but also how they apply laws and professional codes
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