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Hastings Cent Rep. 2016 Sep;46 Suppl 1:S5-8. doi: 10.1002/hast.623.

Cultivating Synergy in Nursing, Bioethics, and Policy.


Nursing and bioethics have a lot in common because they share concerns about life and death, illness and health, the rights of individuals and communities, ethical patient care, health care delivery, and public health. Nurses and bioethicists contribute to ethical practice, ethics scholarship, and health policy-making in a variety of ways. Some nurses have bioethics education or experience, some bioethicists study or collaborate closely with nurses, and some of us proudly identify as both bioethicists and as nurses. Despite certain shared and interwoven aims, bioethicists and nurses often accomplish their goals in dissimilar ways, have diverse educational and training trajectories as well as distinct roles and responsibilities, and are viewed differently within health care organizations. Yet the work of bioethics and nursing can be, and in my view should more often be, synergistic. That synergism may be especially critical in the arena of health policy and ethics. Nurses can bring extraordinary insights and real-world experiences to the policy table but are not always considered essential contributors.

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