Quarterly scientific journal

Cancer survivor after the end of treatment - The role of the nurse

Maria Lavdaniti , Maria Avramika

Abstract

As the main interest of health professionals is for the well-being of patients/clients, ethical decision making is one of the prominent elements of his/her professionalism. Aim: The present study aims to illustrate the role of ethical judgment and the so-called "moral imagination" in health professions. Method and material: Review of theoretical and research literature, including both classic and recent sources about ethical dilemmas that health professionals may anticipate, as well as the suggested ways to manage these dilemmas. Results: Health professionals often have to act in complicated situations. Review of relevant literature indicates that the professionals' ethical decisions are structured not only through the codes of ethics, but also through other collective practices, such as organizational culture and cultural schemas about the role of health professional. Resorting to schematic thinking may temporarily release the professional from his/her concerns, but in the long run, it may devoid him/her of the sense of satisfaction from work and of the ability to offer clients the optimal care. The development of the so-called "moral imagination" permits the professional to advance from the typical application of the rules to actual ethical judgment. Conclusions: Ethical decision making presupposes not only a thorough knowledge of ethical guidelines, but also the development of the ability to openly reflect upon the ethical dimensions of an issue (moral imagination) that allows health professionals to overcome schematic thinking and investigate comprehensive solutions to ethical dilemmas.

Keywords: Moral ability, ethics, ethical dilemmas, schematic thinking, moral imagination

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