Mature care in professional relationships and health care prioritizations

Nursing Ethics 18 (2):209-216 (2011)
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This article addresses some ambiguities and normative problems with the concept of mature care in professional relationships and in health care priorities. Mature care has recently been introduced in the literature on care ethics as an alternative to prevailing altruistic conceptions of care. The essence of mature care is an emphasis on reciprocity, where the mature agent has the ability to balance the concerns of self with those of others and act from a principle of not causing harm. Our basic claim is that the prevailing concept of mature care does not capture the real nature of professional relationships and role obligations in health care. As the focus of attention in professional care is and must be the patient’s particular medical and care needs, such care must principally be altruistic. Furthermore, we argue that mature care cannot adequately address moral conflict in health care without accepting some more principle-based approaches and a richer notion of partiality



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