Heroism as moral dilemma in nowadays nursing
Heroism is a moral concept with various dimensions. Heroes are determined according to one’s individual taste and that’s why they are very subjective. The title “hero” is the determination of the “High price” or value that is given to a person by people as an attempt to show their thankfulness and admiration for their great generosity. The thesis was designed as a two-part study. The overall aim of the thesis was to illuminate the phenomenon of heroism as moral dilemma in our-day nursing. Study I aim was to describe aspects which are connected to heroism in literature. Results from study I elucidate from main themes: altruism and sacrifice as primary values in nursing practice; motivation to moral actions; moral character; acting up in the patient’s bets interest. The main idea of the first identified theme is that sacrifice like altruism is one of important elements in the patient-carer relationship. Nurses want to be altruistic and they wish to receive positive feedback from patients when giving help. The positive feedback is essential to nurses in order for them to provide altruistic care. Following theme show that that nurses demand very high standards of themselves in their interactions with their patients, being in ethically difficult care situations. Once nurses are aware of the values that motivate them, they are more capable of accepting patient’s attitudes and behaviours, and their ability to solve problems and make decisions will become enhanced. In the third theme we can find that a spirit of compassion not only prevents people from doing harm, but may make us sacrifice our lives to protect the other human being. Moral character consists of a set of stable virtues that affect a person’s judgment and action. From the last theme we can see that nurses act on instinct, quick thinking and desire to help others. Caring as an ethical way of being is a rather more broadly understood morale requirement. The research shows that nursing as caring profession embodies many humanistic values as altruism, sacrifice, heroism. Heroism is framed in many different ways: it means doing the ordinary under extraordinary circumstances; it is the call of duty in everyday nursing. Heroes are determined according to one’s individual taste and that’s why they are very subjective. The title “hero” is the determination of the “High price” or value that is given to a person by people as an attempt to show their thankfulness and admiration for their great generosity. Heroism as moral dilemma appears in everyday nursing practice. Acting up heroically depends on nurse’s moral values and no moral reasons. Dilemma is an outcome of conflicting moral principles and rules. Nurses devote their lives to helping others and don’t see themselves as heroes. Aim of study II was out of a semi-structured interview to investigate nurses’ opinion about heroism in our-day nursing. Data was collected by semi-structured interviews with 15 nurses, working and living in Lithuania. Data was analysed by qualitative content analysis method. Results from study II are: overall seven themes were identified: nursing as a loving care; devotion to duty; satisfaction doing the job; self-sacrifice; ready to be hero; nurse-heroine in her daily practice; moral disorientation in nursing. The findings are explained and discussed. In conclusion of study II, most of nurses haven’t lost the most important values in health care profession. Conclusion of the whole study is that in Lithuania love for the suffering patient is the highest value, and this value guides nurses to do heroic actions.
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