Ethical issues in patient safety: Implications for nursing management

Nursing Ethics 20 (8):904-916 (2013)

Abstract

The purpose of this article is to discuss the ethical issues impacting the phenomenon of patient safety and to present implications for nursing management. Previous knowledge of this perspective is fragmented. In this discussion, the main drivers are identified and formulated in ‘the ethical imperative’ of patient safety. Underlying values and principles are considered, with the aim of increasing their visibility for nurse managers’ decision-making. The contradictory nature of individual and utilitarian safety is identified as a challenge in nurse management practice, together with the context of shared responsibility and identification of future challenges. As a conclusion, nurse managers play a strategic role in patient safety. Their role is to incorporate ethical values of patient safety into decision-making at all levels in an organization, and also to encourage clinical nurses to consider values in the provision of care to patients. Patient safety that is sensitive to ethics provides sustainable practice where the humanity and dignity of all stakeholders are respected

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