NURSE AUTONOMY AS RELATIONAL

By Chris MacDonald. Nursing Ethics 2002 9(2). 194-201.

 
   

 

Abstract:

Key words: autonomy; ethics; professionalism; standards


This article seeks an improved understanding of nurse autonomy by looking at nursing
through the lens of what recent feminist scholars have called ‘relational’ autonomy. A
relational understanding of autonomy means a shift away from older views focused on
individuals achieving independence, towards a view that seeks meaningful selfdirection
within a context of interdependency. The main claim made here is that nurse
autonomy is, indeed, relational. The article begins with an explanation of the notion of
relational autonomy. It then explains both the collective and the individual application
of the term ‘professional autonomy’. Finally, it argues that both senses of professional
autonomy are best understood as relational, and suggests some implications of this
conclusion.

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