Perspectives on the role of the nurse ethicist

Jones, Jenny; Ford, Paul J.; Birchley, Giles; Monteverde, Settimio (2023). Perspectives on the role of the nurse ethicist Nursing Ethics, 30(5), pp. 652-658. Sage 10.1177/09697330231189034

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This paper offers four contrasting perspectives on the role of the nurse ethicist from authors based in different areas of world, with different professional backgrounds and at different career stages. Each author raises questions about how to understand the role of the nurse ethicist. The first author reflects upon their career, the scope and purpose of their work, ultimately arguing that the distinction between ‘nurse ethicist’ and ‘clinical ethicist’ is largely irrelevant. The second author describes the impact and value that a nurse in an ethics role plays, highlighting the ‘tacit knowledge’ and ‘lived experience’ they bring to clinical ethics consultation. However, the second author also warns that the ‘nurse ethicist’ must be cautious in their approach to avoid being viewed as a resource only for nurses. The third author questions the introduction of additional professional distinctions such as ‘nurse ethicist’ on the basis that distinctions threaten the creation of egalitarian healthcare systems, while also acknowledging that clinical ethicists ought not strive for objective attachment in their work. In direct contrast, the final author suggests that the nurse ethicist can play a pivotal role in highlighting and addressing ethical challenges that are specific to nurses. These four short pieces raise questions and point to concepts that will be expanded upon and debated throughout this special issue of Nursing Ethics.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


School of Health Professions
School of Health Professions > G Teaching
School of Health Professions > Nursing > Field of Innovation – Psychosocial Health


Jones, Jenny;
Ford, Paul J.;
Birchley, Giles and
Monteverde, Settimio0000-0002-7041-2663


B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
R Medicine > RT Nursing








Settimio Monteverde

Date Deposited:

17 Nov 2023 10:28

Last Modified:

17 Nov 2023 10:28

Publisher DOI:



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