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Nurs Ethics. 2002 Sep;9(5):522-36.

Moving from codes of ethics to ethical relationships for midwifery practice.

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  • 1Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia.


This discussion examines the emergence of professional codes of ethics, influences that shape contemporary midwifery ethics, and the adequacy of codes to actualize values embedded in the midwifery ethics discourse. It considers the traditions of professional practice, the impact of institutionalization on health care, the application of a code of practice as a recent addition to those traditions, and the strengths and weaknesses of codes of ethics as models for ethical responses. That is, it sets out to articulate and deconstruct existing frames of ethical response. The ethics of strangers (normative theory and abstract principles) are rejected as inadequate, and the ethics of intimates (feminist-relational ethics) are proposed as a more adequate guide for well-woman centred midwifery practice.

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