Nursing under the influence: a relational ethics perspective

Nurs Ethics. 2012 May;19(3):380-9. doi: 10.1177/0969733011406767. Epub 2011 Jun 6.


When nurses have active and untreated addictions, patient safety may be compromised and nurse-health endangered. Genuine responses are required to fulfil nurses' moral obligations to their patients as well as to their nurse-colleagues. Guided by core elements of relational ethics, the influences of nursing organizational responses along with the practice environment in shaping the situation are contemplated. This approach identifies the importance of consistency with nursing values, acknowledges nurses interdependence, and addresses the role of nursing organization as moral agent. By examining the relational space, the tension between what appears to be opposing moral responsibilities may be healed. Ongoing discourse to identify authentic actions for the professional practice issue of nursing under the influence is called upon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Codes of Ethics*
  • Disclosure / ethics
  • Employee Discipline / ethics
  • Ethics, Nursing*
  • Humans
  • Interprofessional Relations
  • Mandatory Reporting / ethics
  • Moral Obligations*
  • Nurse-Patient Relations / ethics*
  • Occupational Health Services / standards
  • Occupational Health Services / supply & distribution
  • Organizational Policy
  • Patient Safety* / standards
  • Practice Patterns, Nurses' / ethics*
  • Professional Impairment*
  • Professional Role
  • Substance-Related Disorders / prevention & control
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / rehabilitation