Ethical practice in end-of-life care in Japan

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Abstract

Nurses are obliged to provide quality nursing care that meets the ethical standards of their profession. However, clear descriptions of ethical practice are largely missing in the literature. Qualitative research using a phenomenological approach was conducted to explicate ethical nursing practice in Japanese end-of-life care settings and to discover how ethical practices unfold in clinical situations. Two paradigm cases and contrasting narratives of memorable end-of-life care from 32 Japanese nurses were used to reveal four levels of ethical practice: ethical, distressed, uncertain, and unethical. Having the ability to actualize, justify, and recognize what is the good and/or right differentiated between these levels of ethical practice, empirical descriptions of which are given, followed by discussion of how nurses gain the skilled knowledge necessary for ethical practice.

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