This book examines major ethical issues in nursing practice. It eschews the abstract approaches of bioethics and medical ethics, and takes as its point of departure the diffuculties nurses experience practising within the confines of a biomedical model and a hierarchical health care system. It breaks out of the rigid categories of mainstream health care ethics (autonomy, beneficence, quality of life, utilitarianism...) and provides case studies, experiences and challenging lines of thought for the new professional nurse. The contributors examine the role of the nurse in relation to themes such as informed consent, privacy and dignity, and confidentiality. Nursing accountability is also considered in relation to the contemporary Western health care system as a whole. New and critical essays examine the nature of professional codes, care, medical judgement, nursing research and the law. Controversial issues, such as feeding those who cannot or will not eat, the epidemiology of HIV and dilemmas of choice and risk in the care of the elderly are tackled honestly and openly. Geoffrey Hunt is the first philosopher to have been employed by the National Health Service.
In 1992, his controversial Centre for Nursing Ethics at the Hammersmith Hospital was closed down, re-opening in 1993 at the University of East London. He has published widely on social policy and the ethics of health care.